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Mar 26

Salty Situation

Posted on March 26, 2018 at 3:59 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 3/26/2018



Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:


·         CD48 (Cambria Twp.)  We will be having a preconstruction meeting for the upcoming improvement project planned for this year.  The meeting will be held this Wednesday, March 28, affected landowners should have received notification with specifics of time and location of meeting.  Please call our drainage office with questions regarding this meeting.

·         JD01 Far. (Sterling Twp.)  We will be having a repair meeting with affected landowners of this system to discuss future repairs and current concerns with the system.  Wednesday, April 4 is the chosen date for the meeting; specific details of times and locations should have been included in the notices sent to affected landowners.  

·         CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  We will be having a landowner meeting to discuss a repair petition for repair work to a portion of tile in this system.  This landowner meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 4.  Affected landowners should have received notice of specific details of location and time for meeting.  Please call with questions or concerns.


Project Updates:


  • JD09 (LeRay Twp.)  Preconstruction meeting went well with a tentative start date around the first part of June.
  • CD12 (Mankato Twp.)  We should see the contractor finish up the last little pieces of this repair project early this spring.  I expect that we will have contractors starting work again within a month.  That is unless Mother Nature throws us yet another curve ball.
  • JD34 (LeRay Twp.)  No official word from the contractor on a date of when they plan to start back up for the year, but I imagine it will be late April or May.


Drainage Update:

Last Monday we attended the MADI (Minnesota Association of Drainage Inspectors) meeting in Wilmar, Minnesota.  There were some very good topics of discussion at the meeting.      One of the topics included possible policy changes from the DNR and their potential interactions with drainage authorities.  Another topic of discussion was Redetermination of Benefits and how they can be a very positive thing for drainage authorities and landowners.  The third topic involved possible changes to drainage law and how it may affect drainage authorities. 

MADI meets twice a year, usually early spring and then again late fall.  It’s very helpful to be able to attend these meetings and be able to network and discuss issues with other drainage professionals from across the state.


Salty Lakes:

I came across an interesting article from one of the many website blogs I subscribe to about water and clean water efforts across Minnesota.  This article caught my attention because it was discussing the huge impacts that our use of salt on our roadways is having directly on our Minnesota lakes, streams and wetlands. 

This article focused more on the metro area for its study but we know our roadway salt use is affecting waters all across Minnesota.  This article discussed some interesting facts including that our spring melt waters in early March can be two-to-three times more salty than actual ocean water.

The salty water is denser and the salt sinks to the bottom of our freshwater lakes where it starts the cycle of destruction for the lake's ecosystem.  The article goes on to discuss that a lake's food cycle starts at the bottom with smaller invertebrates and insect larvae.  The more salt that is introduced to our waters, the more it kills off these species that live near the bottoms of our lakes.  As these smaller species disappear, it effects the larger species that feed off of those such as minnows and then larger fish.  Less food sources equals less fish populations.

The lakes with the worst know salt issues are found in the metro area.  Some of these lakes in the metro area have such high levels of salt content that they no longer meet the considerations for “freshwater” lakes.  There are many lakes around the metro, so not all lakes are to this extreme level as of yet.  The article calls attention to a need for change and reform to our state's use of salt as a whole.  On a small scale, we personally can try to use less salt on our driveways and sidewalks.  One tablespoon of salt affects up to five gallons of water, so it’s easy to see how quickly and widespread this problem can be.  Once the damage is done, it can have long lasting impacts to our lakes and other watercourses. 

This was a really interesting article, if you are interested in reading the details of this article or others like it click to learn more.


Recent Drainage Inspections – weeks of March 5 – March 9:


  • JD25 MAT_WAT (Pleasant Mound Twp.)  We spent a couple days televising parts of the main line and branch portions of the tile system looking for potential issues with the old and aging tile.
  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  I’m trying to keep an eye on when the ditches start to open up, and actually some have already.  We are looking at major repairs or improvements for this system.  Both the open ditch and tile have their own sets of issues. 
  • CD93 (Decoria Twp.)  With the recent thawing happening, I’ve discovered additional issues of open ditch side bank slough issues.cd93


  • CD86 (Decoria Twp.)  Not sure that we got all the beavers removed from this drainage system, but the spring thaw is exposing some areas of sloughing issues with the side banks of the open ditch on this system.
  • CD97 (Lyra Twp.) We removed some major trees and cleaned a portion of the open ditch late last fall.  Now that the snow has started to melt, we will need to finish spreading our sediment piles and get some grass growing on our new buffer area.  This newer buffer area will help future maintenance issues as it will be much easier to access this area of the open ditch lying East of County Road 1.
  • CD78 (Vernon Center Twp.)  We had a crew making warranty repairs to this system that just recently had an improvement project done.  Picture below of tile repair across a road crossing.

cd78 repair


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