Storm damage threatens Fairfield County earthen dam

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, OH (WCMH) — Severe storms swept through Fairfield County causing a house fire, an earthen dam to breach and the local EMA director says a possible tornado may have touched down near Bremen or Amanda.

A large sinkhole has formed below an earthen dam in rural Fairfield County and county and state folks are at the site trying to relief the pressure so the dam doesn’t give way.

Tony Durant moved in a 100 year old home on Tschoff Road near Lancaster nearly three years ago. He says last night’s storm caught them by surprise. “We woke up at three with the sirens going off and water in the pond and everything was fine. Woke up this morning there was water in my basement and the pond was very high, so it just came quick,” said Durant.

The culvert from the lake feeding under the earthen dam is making a high-pitch noise, as millions of gallon of water are pulled underground. Officials speculate the culvert gave way under the enormous pressure, eroding and collapsing it from the force and making the sinkhole below the dam.

The Fairfield County EMA Director Jon Kochis said the storm overnight is the cause of this breach.

“You can see from the outflow enters the culvert, a 24-inch pipe and that is flowing full steady, so that is a lot of water outflowing from here and there are actually four lakes upstream from this,” Kochis said.

Because this dam and lake are private, the homeowner is responsible for the costs to relieve the pressure and repair the culvert.

“Meaning I have to put an emergency spillway in so they can dump this, so we don’t compromise the dam any more than it is,” Said Durant.

Pleasant Township firefighters are pumping water out of the lake for now, trying to relieve pressure on the dam, Durant says he’ll have to dig a trench around the dam and through his driveway to relieve it further. And official say that cost and repair of the culvert will be on him.

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