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May 13

New Advocate for Infrastructure

Posted on May 13, 2020 at 7:48 AM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 5/13/2020


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • In response to the current COVID 19 situation, all in person hearings and meetings for drainage have been suspendedWe will send out new notices for all hearings and meetings that need to be rescheduled.
  • Blue Earth County staff is working towards possible alternate ways of hosting virtual hearings or landowner meetings.  We are working with other counties and other outside resources to work towards a possible temporary solution to resume meetings.
  • CD34 Final Hearing (virtual only, no in-person contact) affected individuals will receive notice.                                                                                                                                                            

Aging Infrastructure:

Fix the Pipes Alliance is the new group spearheading efforts for financial support for much of Minnesota’s aging water infrastructure.  The group is currently asking the state legislature to set-aside $300 million to repair many smaller Minnesota communities' aging water infrastructure systems.

Many of us take for granted where and how our water gets to our house, and how it leaves our homes.  For many of Minnesota’s smaller communities, aging infrastructure for both water and wastewater facilities is a very real concern.  Many of these treatment facilities were built 50 plus years ago and need expensive repairs and upgrades.  The problem with the repairs and upgrades is the extraordinary costs associated with them that many smaller communities just can’t bear by themselves.

These smaller communities know that they need to pay their fair share and are looking more for cost sharing, to make up the difference from what their communities can afford.

Most communities can apply for low-interest loans to help cover the costs of their infrastructure upgrade needs, but lately the need has outweighed the availability of funding, leaving many communities looking for other means of funding.  An estimate was given, that Minnesota would need to spend $1.2 billion in every two-year legislative budget cycle for the next 20 years to catch up to the current needs.

Many of these infrastructure repairs are turn key, in that many of them are all engineered and ready to go, just lack the funding.  The projects would have very positive effects on our state economy, adding jobs and money back to our state’s economy.  Unfortunately, the current COVID-19 situation has taken front stage, and issues like this have slowed their momentum.  Governor Walz did propose about $300 million to put towards infrastructure projects, as part of his $2 billion-dollar bonding proposal.

For more ready on this story or others like it follow the link provided.                                                                                                                                                                            

Project Updates:  

  • JD34 (Le Ray Twp.)  No updates from last week.
  • CD05 (Medo and Danville Twps.)  No updates from last week.


Recent Drainage Inspections:

  • CD26 (McPherson Twp.)  A branch line is in need of some repairs.
  • CD56 (Garden City Twp.)  We had issues with water not draining from two road intakes.  This usually means that there is a blockage of some sort downstream.  The area directly downstream consists of tall, grassy, set-aside acres, and difficult to locate any sink holes or tile breaks.  We used a drone to assist in the location of broken tile areas that developed sink holes.  The drone flight identified three areas of concern.  I was able to find them using the ATV and GPS them, so now we can send a contractor out to make these necessary repairs.
  • CD87 (Garden City Twp.)  Our new tile boring under Minnesota State Highway 60 is pretty much complete.  The actual new tile and connections where all installed last Friday afternoon.  Crews are putting the finishing touched on the repair site this week.  The water that had been standing in the neighboring field for over a month was gone overnight.  We are very pleased with the outcome of this repair.cd87 boring
    cd87 boring 3
  • CD36 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  Issues with areas of multiple sink holes on a portion of a small, very shallow, original county tile.
  • CD47 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  A slight issue with some old concrete tile separating and causing sink hole issues near an intake structure.
  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  Monitoring any sloughing issues.

We have multiple contractors making repairs across the county currently.  Please report repair issues to our drainage staff as soon as you notice them, as this will expedite the time in getting those repairs made.

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