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Dec 19

End Of The Year

Posted on December 19, 2019 at 5:04 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 12/19/2019

Photo of our JD38 structure near Amboy.

Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • JTD83, joint county ditch with Waseca County, will be having a landowner meeting to discuss possible upcoming repairs for the 2020 season.  Details of this meeting will be mailed out to those affected landowners in this drainage system.                                                    

Project Updates:


  • CD48 (Cambria Twp.)  No updates from last week.  We're hoping that all final checklist items are finished very soon.
  • JD09 (Le Ray Twp.)  No changes or updates from last week. 
  • JD34 (Le Ray Twp.)  No updates or changes from last week.     
  • CD56 (Garden City Twp.)  The filter is doing its job and the phosphorus levels are dropping.  


Drainage Minutes:

Well, for obvious reasons this tends to be the slower part of the year for drainage, especially for outdoor activities.  We still have two contractors that are actively making repairs to some of our drainage systems.  Repairs will continue until the frost gets to be too much.  We will also continue with ditch cleanings until the ice and freezing get to be problematic.

Ditch assessment season is upon us.  This is the time of year that we (drainage and taxation staff) put together the levies for both single year and multi-year levies.  We issue levies for drainage systems anytime the account balance for that system is below our established minimums.  We try to keep a minimum dollar per acre amount in each ditch systems account so we have funds to pay for potential repairs.  These account balances are not used towards improvement projects, only for repairs.  We have 109 drainage systems in Blue Earth County and we try to keep positive balances on all these accounts.  Some systems seem to be more problem prone than others and cost more annually than some other systems in the county.  The calculation is the same for all drainage systems when calculating what the minimum balance is for each drainage system.

Good news to announce!  I have received the initial water testing results from our new Phosphorus filter! Thank you to our partners at Blue Earth County Soil and Water Conservation District for sampling the water.  Things are actually working better than we anticipated.  The test results show around a 50% reduction of phosphorus and a bonus of a slight reduction in nitrates as well.  From reading about other groups in other states that have installed similar systems, they all seem to say it took a while for the filter to “season” itself, before seeing any considerable results.  We have some coarser soils where nutrients tend to be more mobile in the soil profile, which might be part of the difference.  I personally couldn’t be happier that the filter is in and is working like it was planned to.  In the grand scheme of things, this one little filter is a small contribution to the water health of the Lake Crystal area, but it could be a big leap forward for how we look at and treat phosphorus in all future drainage projects.

I’m excited to see if the new filter will have any noticeable positive affects on Crystal Lake next spring when it thaws.  I’m hoping that we will see drastic reductions in algae growth and an overall better looking and smelling lake.  This could be a practice used by many area lake associations that are also struggling with algae issues.                                                                                                                      

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of December 2 – December 6:

  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  Monitoring water levels and a possible sink hole area.
  • JD36 Brown (Cambria & Butternut Valley Twps.)  Repairs are done for the year in this area.  More repairs will be needed next spring, weather permitting.
  • CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  The contractor is still working on getting fill hauled into the repair site to finish our side bank issue.
  • CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  Our contractor for the ditch cleaning should be mobilizing to the site later this week.  The nice looking forecast should give us a good window to get open ditch cleaning done quickly. 
  • CD56 (Garden City Twp.)  Beaver dams, yes, two areas, have been removed.  We will continue to monitor the area for additional activity.

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