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Jul 17

Whoa to WOTUS Rule

Posted on July 17, 2017 at 4:49 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 7/17/2017


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:


No upcoming meetings are scheduled as of this time.



Project Updates:


·         CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  This project, like I mentioned last week, is completed as far as the new tile install.  We still have to install a concrete control structure on the southerly end of the open ditch.  A few clean up items like seeding of some of the ditch banks also remain, and that should be about it.  Hopefully late summer or early fall all of these items can be addressed.


·         CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  DMI finished midafternoon on Friday, July 7, with the additional tile on this repair project.  The site is graded and water is running nicely in our newly installed tile.  Minus maybe a few clean up items to address, this project is also considered done.


·         CD56 (Garden City Twp.)  The new toe drains were installed last week.  This was a slow going process due mostly to the depth at which the tile needed to be installed.  The toe drain tile in most spots needed to be placed 10 to 12 feet deep.  This is difficult in wet, very sandy soils.  The contractor had to sub-cut down about 6 – 7 feet and then brought in a tile plow to go down an additional 5 – 6 feet in this sub – cut area.  The tile plow has a special hopper on it that back fills the trench with rock.  Things should speed up a bit now that we aren’t planning on doing any more toe drain areas.  There is still a lot of ditch cleaning and brush removal to do yet on this project.  


·         CD12 (Mankato Twp.)  The ditch cleaning portion of this project probably won’t get going until mid-August.  The contractor is on another project trying to get things finished up.  The crew that is contracted to do the Blue Earth County Highway 12 expansion should be starting soon, if not this week.  One of their first items to fix is the crossing where our drainage ditch crosses under the Highway 12 expansion.  This new larger culvert being installed at the legal ditch grade will have a major impact on the drainage of this CD12.




WOTUS Rule Withdrawn:


The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and Army Corp of Engineers have officially filed to withdraw the 2015 WOTUS (Water of the United States) rule.  The rule was originally crafted to protect water, including protections for streams that feed drinking water sources.

However, the rule was a major concern for many in the rural and ag communities of America, as many felt it had too broad a definition.
 They had many concerns that this new rule would have expanded the EPA’s federal jurisdiction and many waterbodies would have been subject to Clean Water Act requirements. This will not be the end of WOTUS, but a replacement rule and new definition will be needed. 

I’m not going to get into great details about the rule, but I will try to summarize it instead.  The rule basically stated that any creeks, streams, ditches, potholes or ponded water anywhere that could possibly have any drainage or outlet to major bodies of water like wetlands, public drainage systems or rivers, could be subject to Clean Water Act requirements.  After a few court cases about this definition, and it’s navigable waters piece, the EPA realized that their current definition was just too broad and too hard to prove and enforce.

Many lawmakers themselves opposed the WOTUS rule because they felt it was a government overreach, but also would add cost to the agricultural industry.  The added cost to the ag-industry would have then been felt by the consumers from higher costs for goods.

Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator, hopes that his group and other farm groups can work together to put together a more practical and workable plan to better water quality.  For more information on this very lengthy subject click now.




Starting the end of July, Governor Dayton and other members of his Cabinet will be hosting Town Hall discussions.  These 10 designated discussions are intended to discuss ways of speeding up our clean water progress in Minnesota.  These meetings are intended for citizens and water professionals alike.  Open communication and identifying top priorities and key strategies are a major focus.  Resources are available online for those individuals that want to host their own “town hall” style meetings.  Mankato is one of the 10 key locations.  Wednesday, August 16, 6:30pm – 8:30pm at Minnesota State University.  For more details and more location information click her.


Mankato – Water Quality Town Hall

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 – 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Registration opens at 6:00 p.m.

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Centennial Student Union - 620 S Road



Recent Drainage Inspections – week of July 10 – July 14:


·         CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Stopped by to see how the seeding and clean-up process is coming along.

·         CD56 (Garden City Twp.)  Project site drop-ins, and just general walking of the tile plowconstruction site, addressing issues with the contractor.  Tile plow shown below used for installing toe drains.

·         CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  Very small amounts of clean-up work left to do with this project.  Thanks for the hard work by DMI for getting this additional tile install done quickly.

·         JD38 (Shelby Twp.)  The contractor started July 14 on installing the new pipe and making connections for this blow-out repair from this spring.  The contractor still jd38 repairhas some grading and final site work to do, but the large pipe install portion of this repair is completed.
Picture shows new pipe and blow out filled in.

·         CD91 (Sterling Twp.)  Inspected reports of ponding water and water weeping up out of the ground along county tile line.  Further televising will be needed to see where and what is blocking the tile.



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