If you haven’t been over by the dam and spillway area at Indian Lake recently you should check it out.
The aging 100-year-old dam and spillway at Indian Lake off Route 366 has been replaced with a labyrinth-designed spillway. The project started in the winter of 2016 with a projected completion date of spring 2018.
“We are about 90 percent complete and expect to be finished by mid-May of this year,” said Indian Lake State Park Manager George Sholtis. “We lost some days due to weather and there is still a little concrete to be poured,” added Sholtis.
The $7.6 million project replaced the 700-foot concrete dam with a 700-foot accordion-fold configuration called a Labyrinth design spillway. This is one of the first “Labyrinth” designed dams constructed in the state of Ohio.
The new spillway is 16 percent more efficient than the old one, resulting in water flowing over the walls faster. The new dam will continue to have the same crest elevation and dimensions as the old one and it will not alter the water levels of the lake.
The old dam had been classified as a Class I high-hazard potential structure, meaning a sudden failure would likely result in the structural collapse of at least one residence or commercial/industrial business and probable loss of human life.
The new structure is more stable and will cut down on seepage. There were no changes to dam’s hydraulic operations with this new structure.
“It needed replaced. It’d been there for years and years and years,” said Pam Miller, Indian Lake Area Chamber of Commerce executive director.”
Roger Hart from nearby St Paris, who is a frequent visitor to the Lake, was very impressed with the new structure. “The new design of the dam really caught my eye, it’s very impressive,” said Hart. I love coming up to Indian Lake for all the great events they put on up here each spring, summer and fall like the “Party at the Beach”, the “Wacky Boat Races” and “Harborfest.” I can’t wait to get my granddaughter Avery up here this summer and it’s really nice to know we have a new safe dam which will prevent any catastrophes or interruptions to Indian Lake and all its great recreational and tourist activities.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the dam needed to be replaced because of insufficient storage-discharge capacity, seepage and instability concerns at the concrete spillway and along the entire embankment. During heavy rains ground water was seeping under the levy to the other side and the spillway was deteriorating. Many holes and water breaches really threatened to weaken the stability of the 100 year old dam.
Ron Brohm is a regular contributor to this newspaper.