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May 22

Horsing Around

Posted on May 22, 2017 at 4:01 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 5/22/2017


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:


·         JD09 & JD34 (LeRay Twp.)  We will be having final improvement hearings coming up at the June 6th Board of Commissioners meeting.  More details of specific times will be given closer to actual board meeting date.


Project Updates:


·         CD28 (Lincoln Twp.) Both the boring crew and pipe laying crews were working intermittently last week with the very wet conditions we had.  The boring crew will not be able to work until their boring pit can be pumped out and left to dry for a few cd28 boring2days.  The pipe crew will also have a slow go of things after heavy rains from last week.  The pipe crew didn’t get as much installed as they hoped, both because of weather and tougher than expected working conditions.  If we can catch a break and miss some of this rain that is expected yet for this week, that would help both crews enormously. 


·         CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  DMI crews made a few miscellaneous connections last week as the old pipe continued to drain into the newly-installed pipe.  Hopefully cd86 tile hookupscrews are able to finish installing the new pipe and get the rest of the site cleaned up.  This new pipe repair goes through some prime farm ground, so I’m sure the growers are looking forward to this project wrapping up and getting some soybeans planted.   


Drainage Minutes:


The heavy rains of last week have definitely slowed the pace of our construction projects.  We have two major projects going on at the same time, and many smaller repair type items going on as well.  Last week did us no favors from any aspect of drainage. 

Both of our major projects saw very little gains in getting more done last week, due in-part to the heavy rains.  Both of these projects need to get finished as soon as we can, as these both are in areas of agriculture and growers are wishing to get these areas planted.

We can’t control the weather, as we learned last year, but we do have two very good contractors on these two projects and I’m sure they will be doing their best to keep things as close to schedule as possible.


Outside Funding:


As part of any improvement project, or even repair project for that matter, we are always looking for ways to improve water quality.  We have a few major projects going on this year and we are incorporating quite a few water quality structures in these projects.

One of these such projects is CD56 (Garden City and Lincoln Townships) which is a major repair project.   We are going to be cleaning many miles of open ditch and making multiple ditch bank repairs along the way.  The brush and trees will be removed from along the ditch area, all the way out to 16.5 feet from the top of the ditch.  This will be very challenging in the areas in town in Lake Crystal, but it is part of our maintenance obligation to maintain the ditches.

Part of this CD56 repair project is to install multiple areas of WASCOB’s (Water and Sediment Control Basins).  These WASCOB’s will help reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients making it into the open ditch.  The WASCOB’s design is to pond up, or hold water in a smaller basin area so that sediment and nutrients can slowly fall out of suspension and the resulting cleaner water then will pass through a smaller tile into the open ditch.

WASCOB’s aren’t really overly new to the drainage world, we have been incorporating them into other projects on smaller scales here and there.  This repair project will have ten or more of these WASCOB’s installed along the open ditch portions in specifically engineered areas that are fit for these structures.WASCOB

These structures don’t come free or necessarily cheap.  The price tag could be a large part of why we don’t see them more on projects. 
We have been working with our local Blue Earth County SWCD since this repair project came to light to incorporate these and possibly other clean water structures into the mix.  Jared Bach from the Blue Earth County SWCD has been working hard to help us find funding for these costly clean water structures.  This is a huge blessing and hopefully the start of a good trend, being able to partner with our local SWCD to help fund our clean water structures and ultimately help cut the costs down on projects.

We have other clean water structures that we are hoping to incorporate into this project on CD56, but we know that not all the funding can come from SWCD funds alone.  We have a few other major projects coming up this year for bid, and we have also looked into funding availability for those projects as well.  The state has made it very clear on their direction for clean water, and we at Blue Earth County Drainage are always trying to do our part for water quality.  Every little bit helps and hopefully going forward these clean water structures just become a construction standard at some point.  Drainage is a part of all of our lives - from our ditches to our ground water, we all at some level, somehow are affected by drainage.


Horsing Around:


peteOn a friendly side note, I was busy over the weekend at a horse show in Verndale, Minnsota.  My wife and her family are very active in the world of horse riding and showing Arabian horses.  My wife this past weekend showed in our first of many shows for this year.  She and her horse “Pete”, as we call him, did fantastic and had a great showing in four different classes of riding.  We ended the weekend with three 3rd places and one 1st place.  Verndale is a long drive but well worth it with such a great showing.


Recent Drainage Inspections – week of May 15 – May 19:


·         JD20 (Lyra Twp.)  We had a landowner call about a couple areas in his field that had sink holes starting, as the old tile is just separating and sucking dirt through the pipe.

·         I had a very busy week last week with multiple meetings and being gone on Friday.  I didn’t have as many inspections as past weeks, but I’m sure there will be more coming in after these rains again.  I also try to stop by my construction projects a few times a week just to see how things are coming along.  The rains of last week slowed most of the projects down to a slow crawl or a halt.  We need some nice weather to get a couple of these projects finished and also so we can start on some other large repair and improvement projects.



Please call with issues you observe on our public drainage system, as there is a lot of open ditch and tile in our county and only two of us in the drainage department.  We will do our absolute best to service your issues and concerns as we receive them.


We require that all repairs to a county drainage system (tile or open ditch) be authorized by one us in the drainage office, either Craig or myself, before any repairs are made.





Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist