Fish and Boat Commission looks to solve seeping water at Children’s Lake

SOUTH MIDDLETON TOWNSHIP, CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is addressing concerns about water seeping out of a dam at Children's Lake in Cumberland County.

Officials previously lowered water levels at the lake after a sinkhole appeared on a road next to the lake last summer.

The solution to the problem will take time and money.

The goal is to come up with a plan to prevent more sinkholes on Bucher Hill Road.

For many, Children's Lake is a place to fish or boat, but for neighbor John Waters, water is at the root of the ongoing problem for the Cumberland County community.

John Waters said "the owner of the building was saying water was running underneath the building. Now that they drained the lake down, that stopped the running, but it was kind of shocking to come wake up one morning and find a hole in the road."

At first, South Middleton Township officials thought plugging the hole in the road would be the end of their troubles.

South Middleton Twp. Township Supervisor Tom Faley said "didn't work. The team looked it over, and said 'no way, 'they've got to go out on a bid to a contractor with great expertise.'"

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission discovered that water seeping out of Children's Lake created the sinkhole, and it continues to leak.

South Middleton Township doesn't have the resources, the money, or the know-how to fix it.

"I am so glad, that Fish and Boat owns it, and not the township, because the estimated cost of the repair is $1.8 million. That is one-third of our annual budget," Faley said.

Last summer, the Fish and Boat Commission lowered the water level two feet to relieve pressure on the dam.

Now, the Commission has a plan that could take up to two years to design a solution, plus up to another two years to construct.

"To me, that's kind of ridiculous, four years to fix it, you know, all they have to do is dig it up and just re-do it," Waters said.

"If it would erode due to seepage over those number of years, we'd get sinkholes in the road, that's not good, in other words because you get traffic on the road too," Faley said.

"Fix it. You know, get it done. Get it done right," Waters said.

Some also hope it won't disturb the view for too long.

"It's beautiful, in the wintertime, summertime, the fall, I mean it's really pretty around here," Waters said.

"A summer may be gone, in other words, the lake may be dry for a particular period of time. I certainly hope it wouldn't be more than three-to-four months," Faley said.

Starting this project depends upon finding the money to do it.

A Fish and Boat Commission spokesperson said officials hope to not only get the project on the state's capital budgets bill and get the governor's approval, they also will seek money from both local governments and community organizations.