WAVERLY, OH(WCMH) — Engineers continued working Friday morning to drain water levels at Lake White in Waverly.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is investigating water movement at the Lake White Reservoir.
ODNR officials said the source of the movement is unknown and may be the cause of recent lower water levels.
Dam engineers lowered the water level in the lake Thursday night and Friday morning in order to investigate and do a full safety inspection on the lake’s recently-installed dam. ODNR said in a statement that engineers do not believe the dam is at risk of failure, but that the action is being taken out of an abundance of caution.
Residents in the area were notified ahead of time so they were able to secure their boats and properties. But Paul Price, a boat owner, questioned why they were only given a few hours’ notice.
“Why three hours’ notice? Why not 24 hours’ notice? Why not 48 hours’ notice?” Price said.
Price said he has noticed cracks and leaks in the dam, but despite dropping water levels, he said nothing was done until Thursday evening.
“It is upsetting everybody,” Price said. “It’s hurting businesses in this area, it’s hurting property values, and we want answers as to what’s going on.”
Nikki Ross, who owns the Lake White Club, wants answers, too. She bought the Lake White Club when the lake was down a few years ago. She said she was “very upset” with the situation and the lack of information.
“I really don’t know anything,” Ross said. “I’ve had a lot of customers come in and say, ‘What’s going on with the lake?’ And I […]?have no idea.”
Ross is worried lower water levels may mean the end of boating season, and with it, her business.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do if the lake’s not here,” Ross said. “I just don’t see our business staying afloat.”
A statement on the Lake White State Park website says:
ODNR assures area residents that the dam at Lake White State Park near Waverly remains safe in light of a recent decline in lake levels. In recent weeks, the lake level has dropped more than 12 inches due to the recharging of the regional aquifer, a lack of significant rainfall and normal evaporation loss. While dam safety improvements have been completed, roadway improvements continue.