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Mar 06

Minnesota Cities Looking for a Break

Posted on March 6, 2018 at 6:41 AM by Ryan Hiniker


Drainage update 3/5/2018



Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

·         CD35 (Mapleton Twp.) We hosted an informational landowner meeting for this public drainage system on March 5.  The purpose of this meeting was to discuss ongoing issues with the system including cost of repairs and possible improvement ideas.  Landowners affected by this system should have received a notice from Blue Earth County containing details of the meeting.  For questions or concerns pertaining to this meeting or this system, please call or email.

·         JD09 (LeRay Twp.)  We will be having a preconstruction meeting for the improvement project for this system.  Monday, March 12, is the scheduled date for the meeting and affected landowners should have received notice of details for time and location.  Call the drainage office with questions or concerns.


Project Updates:


  • Bids for the CD48 improvement project have been received and the winning contractor has been notified.  Official announcement for the winning bid will be announced at our March 13 Board of Commissioners meeting.


Looking for a Break:

$33 million is the cost to repair an aging wastewater treatment plant in Detroit Lakes.  This will be the largest investment they have ever made on an infrastructure project.  Like Detroit Lakes, many Minnesota cities are faced with huge costs to repair out of date wastewater treatment plants.

The costs for these projects is something many of our smaller communities are struggling with.  After the project is done and the cost to pay back the bond comes, cities are asking for an exemption from any new environmental standards for a period of 16 years.  16 years is the approximate amount of time needed for many cities to pay down 80 percent of the debt. 

The MPCA and other cities have tried to change the rules in legislation, but an administrative judge refused the change to the rule.  Many environmental groups feel that this 16-year window is much too long for how quickly things are changing with water quality.  As technology keeps advancing, we are finding more and more things of concern in our water.  We also are finding more and more ways to deal with these new issues whether it be sediment, nitrates, phosphates, or even pharmaceuticals.

In the past many cities could depend on state and federal funds to help pay for infrastructure costs.  In recent decades those funds have diminished, and the costs to repair these aging systems continues to sky rocket because of new and changing environmental standards.  We can all agree that we usually see positive changes to our water quality with stricter wastewater requirements.  We know it’s the right thing to do, but for some small communities, the price tag is a very hard pill to swallow. For more information or to read more about this, please click.



Recent Drainage Inspections – week of February 26 – March 2:


  • JD25 (Pleasant Mound Twp.)  We are exploring the idea of possible improvement for this system.  We will be televising and doing other inspection type work in the next few weeks.
  • CD27 (Lincoln Twp.)  I was out inspecting some of the ditches that are starting to open up, and I’m trying to put together a small list of possible ditches that will need cd27cleaning this year.  CD27 pictured here.


  • Things will start to get very busy in the next month.  We have our first preconstruction meeting next Monday for JD09 in LeRay Township.  The CD34 improvement project will start back up in the next month more than likely.

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.

lambWe were able to visit a family friend that had some new lambs on the farm.


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