Trumbull County Metroparks has given up on trying to make Coalburg Lake in Brookfield and Hubbard Townships the newest county park, but still wants to create one somewhere on the eastern side of the county, said Zachary Svette, Metroparks’ operations director.
Metroparks was awarded a state grant to buy the lake from Coalburg Land Partners LLC of Humble, Texas, but decided against the move because of questions about the dam, Svette said.
“There’s too much liability on the property,” he said, adding that the owner was not interested in fixing problems outlined in past inspection reports.
The dam was last inspected May 17, 2016, according to the inspection report released by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
It’s up to dam owners to monitor, maintain and operate their dams safely, according to the report, but the inspection showed that the owner has neglected to take care of issues that dated back to 1999.
The owner has not undertaken a study to determine the dam’s discharge and storage capacity; investigated the integrity of the drain system; investigated seepage that has been noted downstream since 1974; or investigated upstream slope protection, according to the report.
The earthen dam, which was built in 1916, has trees and shrubs growing all over it, rendering a complete inspection impossible, and the owner has ignored orders to remove this vegetation, the report said.
The owner also has failed to monitor flows or prepare an operation, maintenance and inspection manual or an emergency action plan, the report said.
Although the state has authority to undertake remedial measures, such as lowering the water level or draining the lake, when a dam is considered dangerous, an ODNR spokesman, when asked if the state has undertaken any, said: “It’s the responsibility of the dam owner to undertake the remedial measures specified in the inspection report.”
“At the request of Hubbard Township, ODNR is planning to perform a follow-up inspection of Coalburg Lake Dam in the near future,” added spokesman David Roorbach.