View All Posts

Jul 03

Happy Fourth of July

Posted on July 3, 2017 at 9:32 AM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 7/03/2017


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:


CD83 (McPherson Twp.)  We will be having a landowner meeting to discuss a possible repair project for this ditch system.  This meeting will be held on July 5th.  Location and details of times for this meeting are in the mailer that landowners for this system received.


CD76 (McPherson Twp.)  We will be having a landowner meeting to discuss possible improvement project for this drainage system.  The meeting for this improvement will be held on July 5th.  Landowners and those affected by this system received more information on times and location.


JD17 (Garden City Twp.)  We will be having a landowner meeting on Thursday, July 6.  The landowners and individuals that this meeting will affect received details to the time and location of this meeting.  This meeting is a follow up to our meeting from last year and will have new details from our televising and exploratory digging.



Project Updates:


·         CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  All of the new HDPE 48” pipe is installed and water is running just fine.  The new ditch was officially opened Monday morning and by noon the water level in the open ditch dropped over 3 feet.  The current water level in the open ditch is about 8 inches to a little over a foot in places.  The new tar was put cd28 pavingdown Friday morning where the contractor had to open cut CSAH 13.  Buffers have been planted and grass is coming up nicely already.  Other than a few touch up and clean up things, the major construction portion of this project is done. 


·         CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  The contractor started moving equipment back on site Thursday of last week.  We are expecting additional tile to start to be installed next week.  The additional footage shouldn’t take much more than a week including cleanup.


·         CD56 (Garden City Twp.)  This ditch cleaning project has started out with challenges.  The contractor is having issues with large chunks of grass floating away and depositing further downstream where they just got done cleaning.  I have never seen such huge chunks of grassy bogs in a ditch before like this ditch.  The contractor has invented a couple things for the long reach track hoe to deal with the floating debris.  The pace is slow going, but after our rough start and getting things figured out, we are looking much better.


·         CD12 (Mankato Twp.)  Not much has happened on this project for a while mostly because there are many new utilities being installed in the new County Road 12 right-of-way area.  Once the new culverts are installed where CD12 crosses the new road, then our contractor can come in and start cleaning the open ditch out.  There will be a lot of sediment taken out of this open ditch, as this open ditch system is overdue for a good cleaning.  Once the cleaning starts it should move along fairly quickly, including the installation of two new culvert crossings on the north end of this system.


Drainage Minutes:


As some of you may know, the buffer law deadlines are fast approaching.  I spoke a while back about the waivers and some other buffer update items.  The buffer law, for both public waters and public drainage, needs some government entity to enforce the requirements.  BWSR (Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources) gave all of the counties an opportunity to either be the local enforcement agency; if not, BWSR would be the enforcer. 

After many months and numerous meetings and BWSR discussions, Blue Earth County has elected to be the local enforcement agency for the buffers, both public water and ditches.  We will be working collectively and closely with both the SWCD as well as our Blue Earth County Environmental Services Department.  We feel that the three of our groups are all very confident that we can take on this task parcel by parcel.  

The enforcement process starts with the SWCD who has to say the parcel is either compliant or non-compliant.  If the parcel is non-compliant, then it comes to the County Drainage Authority to issue a letter of corrective action.  The SWCD is then responsible to re-check the parcel for compliance and report back to the Drainage Authority. 

If there is a continued issue of non-compliance, then there will be penalties and fines associated with the time of non-compliance and so forth.  Our Environmental Services group has had a long-standing shoreline ordinance with a 50 foot setback.  We in the drainage department are currently overseeing 103E drainage violations, which often include buffer violations after a new ROB (redetermination of benefits) has been performed. 

The decision to accept enforcement responsibilities of the buffer law didn’t come lightly.  We discussed it many times with many groups and the County Board gave it much thought before passing a resolution.  Part of the thought was between Public Drainage, SWCD and Environmental Services, we all have made many relationships through our current interactions with our local landowners.  Dealing with a local government group that many landowners may already have some experience with should make this buffer law deadline transition smoother.

We hope that between our three groups and the great amount of knowledge and expertise that each group brings, that the first deadline this fall will come and go smoothly. 

Please do not wait until last minute to get your plan in order for the public waters / shoreline buffer deadline.  If you have no plan or waiver on file at the SWCD and have not planted a buffer or certified NRCS alternative clean water practice, then you are going to be in violation come this November.  I confirmed with SWCD and BWSR staff this week that a written plan on a waiver must be signed and approved by SWCD staff to be compliant.  No waiver and no buffer equals non-compliance and in violation.  Please know that if your parcel is labeled non-compliant or with a violation, you are not eligible to sign up for government programs until the violation is found to be corrected.

Those folks with additional questions and concerns can either call or email me, or your local SWCD agent at 507-345-4744.


Hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday weekend.  Happy Fourth of July / Independence Day.  Don’t forget about the fireworks.  Lake Washington has fireworks on the night of July 3rd every year.  If you’re a boating person looking to watch really good fireworks, I highly suggest Lake Washington. 

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of June 26 – June 30:


·         CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Project site drop-ins to check on progress of the project.  Picture shows current water level after opening of new pipe.
cd28 new pipe

·         CD56 (Garden City Twp.)  I just stop by randomly three or more times a week to check on the progress of the current repair project and to address issues that may arise.

·         Between these two major projects CD56 and CD28, I spent all of my outside time this week on them.  It feels great to say that things are pretty much done with CD28 project.  This was a long and very difficult project, plagued by bad weather and very difficult working conditions.  Glad that there was finally a light at the end of that tunnel.


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