The state of Ohio has filed a legal action against the owners of Coalburg Lake seeking to get Coalburg Land Partners LLC, Cleveland, to fix the lake’s dam or breach it.
The lawsuit, filed Dec. 9 in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, is the latest action in an ongoing effort by the state to address seepage, vegetation on the dam and around the spillway, a non-functioning drain and the determination that the dam does not have enough capacity to contain a severe flood.
The condition of the dam prevented Trumbull County Metroparks from buying the lake and the area around it for use as a public park, said Metroparks Executive Director Zachary Svette.
The dam, which was built in 1916, is in Hubbard Township, and the lake is in Hubbard and Brookfield townships. A sudden collapse could cause loss of life or property damage downstream, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit cites an inspection report from November 2019 that resulted in a notice of violation that ordered the owners to remove trees and brush and submit a schedule for other repairs. An August 2020 site visit revealed that some trees and brush has been removed.
However, the owner’s failure to follow up resulted in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources issuing a chief’s order requiring the repair or breaching of the dam, and the submission of a schedule for certain milestones no matter which option was chosen.
In 2021, more vegetation was removed and the owner contacted the state concerning other tasks, but none of the final requirements were ever met, the lawsuit said.
An answer to the suit had not been posted as of Jan. 13.