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Sep 29

Drainage Update 9/29/2020

Posted on September 29, 2020 at 12:56 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 9/29/2020


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

Blue Earth County have been hosting board meetings and some drainage hearings virtually.  Blue Earth County staff have been using a combination of live-streaming video and conference call-in options.  Notices sent out for drainage hearings will include all necessary information for our constituents to attend these hearings virtually via internet or through the call-in option.                                                              

Drainage Minutes:

Pretty quiet lately in the world of drainage, as far as news media.  Usually we have had a few seminars or drainage related events to talk about at this time of the year, however, COVID-19 has changed all those plans, as much as it has for all of you.  In the absence of drainage seminars, we have been keeping busy making as many repairs as we can across the county. 

We have been keeping multiple contractors busy with ditch cleanings, slough repairs, installing water quality in-takes (ASI’s), installing new crossing structures and tree and brush maintenance.  We currently have six different contractors completing work on multiple drainage systems across the county.

Speaking of water quality in-takes, we have started installing over 30 new water quality in-takes along portions of open ditch on ditch systems CD26 and JTD83, both located in McPherson Township.  Think of how many thousands of tons of sediment those 30 new in-takes will prevent from entering those two open ditch systems.  Less sediment equals better water quality and less future maintenance costs for the drainage system.  We are trying to rebuild some of our larger areas of sloughing by replacing and packing these areas with clay and re-seeding them.  Slough areas are very hard to find a silver bullet solution, as there are usually multiple factors contributing to why these areas are sloughing.

Fun fact about Blue Earth County Drainage Authorities commitment to water quality, in the last year and a half, Blue Earth County Drainage has been awarded over $150,000 in grant funding to support water quality efforts and practices.  Some of those practices include, Alternative Side Intakes (ASI), a phosphorus filter installed and concrete control weir structures, to name just a few.  Our latest concrete control structure to be installed was along a portion of CD05.  This was part of a grant funded program.  This will control peak flows to portions of CD05 and help keep the wetland area more like an actual wetland, holding water longer.  The photo below shows one of our grant funded weir control structures along weir

Now that we are officially into our fall season, repairs and contractors are in frantic mode, trying to get as much done before things freeze up.  Looking towards next year, we are expecting multiple new projects as well as many repairs.                                                                   

Project Updates:  

  • JD34 (LeRay Twp.)  Final closeout documents have been received.  We will be looking to get this project closed out this year. 
  • CD05 (Medo and Danville Twps.)  Crews had to reclean a small area of open ditch that slid after receiving heavier rains.  Most cleaning activities should be about done at this point.
  • JD09 North / South (LeRay Twp.)  Final close out documents have been received, we are expecting to close these two projects out this year.
  • CD48 (Cambria Twp.)  Few “after harvest” items remain, mostly grading small areas and cutting down in-takes in a few areas.
  • CD26 (McPherson Twp.) Trees and brush are gone, sediment cleaning has started this week.  Crews are now starting the new water quality in-takes, or ASI’s.
  • JTD83 (McPherson Twp.)  Crews started cleaning last week.  We are dealing with a beaver issue to an area along this open ditch.  Initially the beaver dam was holding over 5 feet of water back.  We have installed one new ASI along an area of this open ditch, with many more to be installed.  Photo below showing our new ASI installed.   new asi jtd83

Recent Drainage Inspections:

  • CD05 (Danville Twp.) Re-cleaning a small area of open ditch. 
  • CD95 and CD96 (Mapleton & Danville Twp.)  Trees, brush and weeds have been sprayed on these two systems recently.
  • JD48 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  One of our contractors has been staying busy making miscellaneous repairs to the open ditch area, many of which are slough repairs.  They also have been modifying some side in-takes to make them more friendly for driving over.  We are doing this to help prevent damage to contractor equipment and making inspections safer.  Our contractor is also removing fence posts, rock piles and other items that are not allowed in the buffer areas.
  • CD26 (McPherson Twp.)  Monitoring repair efforts.
  • JTD83 (McPherson Twp.)  Monitoring on-going repairs.
  • CD92 (Medo Twp.)  We have a reroute of an open ditch starting.  This is part of a proposed wetland area.  See below the picture of the new ditch just starting to be installed.cd92 new ditch
  • CD50 (Lincoln Twp.)  We televised last week trying to figure out issues with poor drainage performance.
  • CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Televising potential issues with areas of tile along this system.                           

Do you have questions or topics about drainage that you would like to here more about? If you would like me to incorporate those concerns or topics in one of my future blogs, please feel free to email me at the listed email address below. 

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.  We also do not allow any permanent or seasonal items to be placed in our open ditches or buffer areas.  These types of items would include rocks, fence posts, trailers or other agricultural equipment, just to mention a few items.  If you have questions or concerns with open ditches or buffers, please call.




Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist