The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has issued a six-item notice of violation to the owner of Coalburg Lake in Brookfield and Hubbard townships.
ODNR said Coalburg Lake Land Partners LLC must remove trees and shrubs that are growing on the dam, repair the spillway and the nonfunctioning drain and find the source of seepage and eliminate it.
The May 8 notice was based on a November inspection and gave Coalburg Land Partners until June 30 to remove trees and brush and submit a schedule to correct problems.
“The attorney for the owners of the dam contacted the ODNR Division of Water Resources after they received the notice of violation and indicated that the dam’s owners were going to remove the trees and brush this summer and requested a 90-day extension to submit the schedule because of COVID-19,” said ODNR spokesman David Roorbach in an email Aug. 26. “The chief of the division approved the extension request, and the schedule is now due at the end of September. Division engineers will be making a site visit soon to confirm the tree and brush removal and inspect the condition of the dam.”
Brookfield Trustee Gary Lees said he and Hubbard Trustee Fred Hanley have written letters to ODNR asking for action on the dam.
“I do not want to get into a situation that we faced here in this county at Kinsman,” he said at a trustees meeting in February. “This is a large lake. This is not a small pond. This is a very large lake with a considerable sized dam. It’s very deteriorated from both sides of that dam.”
He said he worries about the danger to people and property downstream should the dam breech, and the township’s liability in such a case.
Zachary Svette, executive director of Trumbull County Metroparks, which ended an examination of buying the lake for recreation because of the condition of the dam, said it would cost $1 million to $3 million to repair the dam, money Metroparks didn’t have and likely the dam’s current owner doesn’t have.
Lees said he wants to organize a meeting with local, county and state officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to talk about options, including his preference to remove the dam. He said on Aug. 24 that he has been unable to arrange the meeting.
Some of the dam’s issues have been neglected since 1999, according to inspection reports.
The dam was built in 1916 by Youngstown Sheet and Tube for employee recreation.