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Jul 23

Space Age Drainage Records

Posted on July 23, 2018 at 8:23 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 7/23/2018


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  We will be having a landowner meeting for updated costs and plans for a proposed repair petition.  Landowners affected by this repair should receive notices shortly.
  • CD56 Branch 18 (Lincoln Twp.)  We will be having a landowner meeting to discuss some major repairs to be made to Branch 18.  Branch 18 is all tile and empties into the open ditch on CD56.  Affected landowners should receive notice shortly.  Notices for both meetings will give details of location and times of meetings. 

Project Updates:


  • JD34 (Le Ray Twp.)  As of last Friday, July 20, things were starting to be cleaned up.  I spoke with the foreman from RAW Construction last week.  He indicated that they maybe had another day or two of tile install to finish and then they would start getting to the final checklist items.  This project should be completed very soon.
  • JD09 (Le Ray Twp.)  Mother nature put a halt to construction last Thursday and Friday.  Crews where making great time installing the new HDPE tile.  Crews had been working in a southerly direction along new lateral B before the rains made things much too muddy.  Not exactly sure what the rain total was on the project site, but in Mankato I can confirm 2.6 inches.  See picture for approximate progress update.
jd09 prog map

Drainage Minutes:

We have officially started our drainage modernization project.  I spoke about this quite some time back, and how we had applied for the Drainage Modernization Grant from BWSR (Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources).  We were selected and are one of the counties that is receiving funding to update all of our drainage records.

So, what do we do with the funds?  We have a rather strict contract with BWSR giving guidance and detail to just exactly how and what the funds can and can’t be spent on.  The minimum requirements were a 1:1 match between the drainage authority and BWSR.  We have approximately two years to use these funds and hopefully have our project complete. 

Some things we are doing with the money is hiring an outside contractor to help with our GIS layers.  Digitizing all of our drainage systems, both tile and open ditches, is just one part of what we are doing.  The hired contractor is taking all of our old drainage system plans and profile sheets and digitizing them on a map.  What this means is we are having them drawn on a modern GIS map with lots of user-friendly information.  Some of the information that we will have on this new map will include: year built, linear feet of open ditch or tile, system name, size of tile, type of tile, flow direction of tile, percent of slope for tile or ditch, and many other supporting documents including improvement and repair documents.  We are hoping to color code tile by sizes for easy recognition as well as color code tile versus open ditch. We're working on many other ideas too.

There are currently other counties and watersheds that are already utilizing this technology to some degree, but there are not very many across the state.

Big deal you say, what does this mean for me, Joe Public?  This means that the general public will have a much more powerful research tool for public drainage going forward.  Much of the most important information that most people currently call and ask us about will be at their fingertips, all just a click of the mouse from your computer.  This isn’t an overnight process; trust me there are many steps to building this.  The end product will be extremely powerful and useful.  We are hoping that we can complete this task in the window allotted for from BWSR.  I’m very confident that between our contractor doing a majority of the work and our own county staff, we will be able to have this up and going in two years or less.  No more paper maps or having to call in or come into our office to do most research.  I’m very excited for this project, as it will change how we operate on a daily basis too, in addition to helping the general public who use it.  Click on the hyper link to see an example of how Jackson County is using some of their GIS information in an interactive map.

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of July 16 – July 20:

  • JTD01 FAR (Sterling Twp.)  I’ve been monitoring this system as it’s had its share of issues over the last year or two.  Large amounts of water from Lura Lake and failing pipe make for an interesting combination.
  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  Monitoring the sloughing issues with both the township road and the open ditch.
  • JD15 LeS (Jamestown Twp.)  We had some additional survey work done on portions of the open ditch.  We are looking at a potential improvement project for this system.
  • CD56 (Lincoln & Garden City Twp.)  Waiting on the contractor to come back and finalize the cleaning project from 2017.
  • JD32 (Pleasant Mound Twp.)  Clean water quality intake.  This is an example of a modified WASCOB (water and sediment control basin).  See picture of final product.  We just need a little rain and sun to get our grasses growing and things will be looking great.
jd32 final side intake

  • JD38 (Shelby Twp.) Monitoring water levels on one of our newer drop intake structures installed spring of last year.  Some intermittent maintenance of cleaning debris off the intake, but all-in-all this repair has turned out great so far.
  • JD07 WAT (Lincoln Twp.)  Tile collapses have given way to sink holes and erosion issues on portions of tile and open ditch for this system.  See photo of collapsing tile.jd07 WAT

  • CD36 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  One of our past repairs blew out due to one of the major rain storms of June.
  • 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