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Jul 30

Scum Days of Summer

Posted on July 30, 2018 at 8:06 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 7/30/2018


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, inclduing detail of location and time of meeting
  • 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, including detail of location and time of meeting.
  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.) We will be having a landowner meeting to discuss and update landowners of improvement options and some possible costs associated with these options.  Affected landowners will be notified by a mailing.  The mailing will include all details of location and time.    

Project Updates:


  • JD34 (Le Ray Twp.)  All of the new tile has been installed on all branches, laterals and main lines.  With the installation of the tile complete, the contractor now has a “punch-list” of items that need to be completed before completion of project.  We still have to televise and inspect all new tile installed before accepting or finalizing the project.  
  • JD09 (Le Ray Twp.)  The really nice weather lately has helped tremendously with the contractor and crew.  The southerly portion of this improvement project is going well, with almost half of the new tile installed as of last Friday.  Check out the map for approximate areas of where new tile has been installed. jd09 update map

Scum Days of Summer:
algae 2
(Picture I took over the weekend at Lake Washington)

For those of us that have grown up in southern Minnesota, the dog days of summer or late summer means weeds and gross looking lakes most years.  Sometimes those gross looking and often smelly lakes are actually toxic. 

Many have heard the term Blue-green Algae.  These algae as it’s often called, is actually a bacterium called Cyanobacteria.  Cyanobacteria is nothing new to our lakes and ecosystems.  The bacteria thrive in water areas that are often warm, nutrient rich and shallow.  That pretty much could describe any lake in southern Minnesota.

Blue-green algae blooms will often look like thick green pea soup and often have a very pungent odor of musty or decaying vegetation.  Can you tell just by sight or smell if algae are toxic? No, not for certain, but a simple water sample test can be conducted to test for toxicity.  When the blooms start producing toxins, there is real danger for humans and animals.  The toxin that is produced is called cyanotoxins.  Most algae in general are not harmful, but when they become toxic it is a different story.

Most of these blooms of algae concentrate in the calmer bays of lakes, but not always.  Many of the severe cases of Blue-green algae blooms are because of a combination of shallow warm waters with overloading of nutrient sources like Phosphorus and Nitrogen.  Many times, the nutrient overloading comes from leaking septic systems, household cleaning agents, and commercial and residential fertilizers that have been allowed to run off into a water source.

Humans and animals can become ill from exposure to the algae, and in some rare cases it results in death to some animals.  Humans that have been exposed to the Blue-green algae could experience many symptoms like; headache, eye irritation, skin rashes, cough, sore throat, and stomach and intestinal issues.  Animals can have similar reactions to the exposure also, and dogs are the most susceptible.  The article I read pointed out dogs as being the most at risk because of their nature to swim and play in all types of water.  The very nature of how dogs swim also leads them to ingest larger amounts of water.

Can we get rid of Blue-green algae in our lakes?  The answer is no, the algae will always live in the lake water.  We can’t control the algae living in the lake or the temperatures of the lake, but we can try to reduce the amounts of nutrients that are going into the lakes and streams.  By being more conscious of the fertilizer run off and what household chemicals we dump down our drains, we all can play a key role in reducing the intensity of these algae blooms.  For those people who live on or near the water, consider planting buffer areas along the water's edge or in areas that may experience runoff. 

Check out what other area groups have done to clean up their lake problems.  One major group in our area is Crystal Waters Project from the Lake Crystal area.  They have been dealing with Blue-green algae blooms and have taken a community-based approach to cleaning up the issues.  For more reading on this article and another one that I read, click the hyperlinks.  The pictures are from Lake Washington from over the weekend.

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of July 23 – July 27:

  • 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.  We had the buffer strip areas mowed and things are looking nice.
  • JD48 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  We have a major slough area in the road ditch along this public drainage system.  We will be removing an old concrete structure and making major repairs to realign the water flow back into the original channel.
  • JD07 WAT (Lincoln Twp.)  A simple rusted out CMP pipe of 20 feet turned into a major 160-foot pipe repair going under a county road.  See photo below of new pipe install.  We use a stronger pipe for road crossings, that is the difference in the different colored pipe.
jd07 repair 1

  • CD93 (Decoria Twp.)  One of our new alternative side intakes received damage from the major June storms.
  • CD57 (Beauford Twp.)  Issues with a separated and washed out pipe near the City of Mapleton sewage treatment ponds.
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