Ensuring the stability of Pickerington's two main pond dams and preparing for the possibility of their collapse or overflow is the focus of an "Emergency Action Plan" or "EAP" the city must complete and file with the state of Ohio.
According to Chad Lucht of the Fairfield County Soil and Water District, the pond dams at Windmiller Pond and Sycamore Pond are Class 2 and 3 dams, respectively, and as such are required by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to have "emergency action plans" in place.
Lucht said a failure of a Class 2 dam could lead to the loss of infrastructure whether that be roads or residences.
He said if the dam at Windmiller were to fail "the apartment complex to the west could get flooded and infrastructure could be damaged."
Pickerington City Services Director Ed Drobina said Windmiller Pond flows into a stream that ends up in the apartments at Fuller's Way and flooding there could also impact two big culverts.
Lucht said Sycamore Park's pond dam is a Class 3.
Flooding there would not be as impactful.
"(A flood) doesn't affect infrastructure, but there could be a loss of a non-habitable structure. The gazebo could be impacted and the ball fields could be damaged," Lucht said.
He said there are no Class 1 dams in Pickerington, in which failure "could lead to loss of life."
Lucht said Fairfield County Soil and Water will help Pickerington develop a contingency plan for both dams, at no cost to the city.
"We approached the city and said we have the ability to (offer) a one-time opportunity to get an EAP implemented at no cost," Lucht said.
He said Fairfield County can do so courtesy of a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Drobina told Pickerington City Council's Service Committee Fairfield County will use its own employees to complete the EAP.
"We get to use regional resources to get it done," said City Manager Bill Vance.
Drobina said Fairfield County will also assist the city comply with storm water rules mandated by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.
NPDES Phase II storm water rules require cities like Pickerington to develop a storm water management plan because it operates its own municipal storm sewer system.
"This is an opportunity in 2013 to get additional resources to help us fulfill this (requirement) responsibly," said Vance, who added the city will save about $4,000 by enlisting Fairfield County to help complete the NPDES Phase II six-step compliance process.