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Mar 10

Innovative Ideas

Posted on March 10, 2017 at 5:00 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 3/10/2017

Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • CD56 (Garden City Twp.)  We will be awarding the bid officially to the contractor at an upcoming County Board of Commissioners meeting. Watch for more information in a future posting.
  • MADI….Minnesota Association of Drainage Inspectors will be having their annual meeting in Wilmar next Monday.

Project Updates:

  • CD28 (Lincoln Twp) It may be a few weeks yet before construction continues.  No official date has been set.  Water levels have come down drastically this last week in the open ditch and in the manhole structures of the old metal pipe.
  • We’ve had a few major projects awarded lately.  No construction will start until road restrictions are officially removed.  I’m hoping that will be sooner than later as we have a very busy construction season ahead of us.

Intake Technology:

I read a neat article from the BWSR website about studies being done on alternative intakes and different types of surface intake structures.  The University of Illinois did the study, but no results have been published as of yet.  We in Minnesota have been doing a very good job of using the latest technology to apply towards cleaning up our waters.intake pic

These newer intake styles look a little strange compared to what we typically see out in a field.  Our typical ones are the orange plastic-looking stand pipes (Hickenbottom) or the yellow bird cage topped intakes. These two types of intakes do a fairly good job of keeping larger debris out of the tile, but they don't do not much for keeping soil and other pollutants out in larger rain events. 

Some of the newer-designed intakes may drain slower than the traditional ones, but they do a better job of filtering sediment and contaminants.  Rock intakes, or “drive over” intakes as they are sometimes called, are gaining popularity.  They have a pretty simple idea behind them: basically you have a basin with the drain pipe near the bottom and you fill the basin up with various sized rock.  This way the water can collect and drain and do it at a slower pace so sediment has time to settle.  Plus the best part about it from the grower standpoint is you can drive equipment over them.

We at Blue Earth County Drainage are always looking at new technologies that benefit water quality.  Every time we have a major repair or improvement project, we look at ways to use as many BMP’s (best management practices) as possible.  Not all BMP’s work all the time in every situation, but we do try to implement them as much as we can.  We also work closely with our local SWCD and other clean water groups for funding and grants to help finance some of these technologies.

Spraying and Maintenance for Open Ditch Systems:

Part of having an open ditch public drainage system is the issue of noxious weeds and brush.  Since starting with Blue Earth County, I have been working on a program of spraying and maintaining the open ditches.  As some of you may remember almost a year ago when I first introduced myself and gave a quick background of myself, I mentioned I have a background with chemicals and herbicides. 

I work with a contractor who does all of our spraying for weeds and brush.  I feel very confident with my background and with a very knowledgeable contractor that does good work, that spraying will have very positive effects to controlling our weed and brush issues.

County Township map with namesThis particular contractor has been doing it for over 20 years and does a lot of work for many other counties in the state as well as Iowa.  My plan involves splitting the county into three different zones.  I’m trying to use a rotating schedule of spraying to control costs.  I set the zones up for a specific reason, to maximize the possibility of incorporating the work and costs with neighboring counties. 

Some ditches that have problem areas may need “back–to–back” applications, but those will be dealt with on an individual basis.  The pictured map shows how I broke out the zones 1-3.  If you have concerns with ditch spraying, including areas that would be very sensitive to chemical spray, please email or call me with those concerns.


Recent Drainage Inspections – week of March 6 – March 10

  • CD93 (Decoria Twp.)  I was out on this system with the ATV this week doing a general inspection.  A few areas of minor concern that include areas of sloughing and gully washing were observed.
  • CD25 (Decoria Twp.)  General inspection and checking on how some of last fall’s repairs are holding up.  One last major repair from last year’s storms is still needed to be done.
  • CD69 (Mankato Twp.)  Monitoring water levels and debris where our county ditch outlets to a city raven system. 
  • JD11 (McPherson Twp.)  General inspection of water levels and to see how last fall’s repairs are holding up.  This ditch system is very large and has a lot of water come through it from a huge watershed in a neighboring county.  This system looks more like a river than a drainage ditch.
  • CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Monitoring the water levels of both open ditch and manhole structures.  Water continues to go down at a good pace.


Upcoming Drainage Inspections:

  •  JD38 (Sterling Twp.)
  • CD56 (Garden City Twp.)
  • JD49 (Sterling Twp.)
  • CD78 (Vernon Center Twp.) partial
  • CD01 (McPherson Twp.)
  • CD93 (Decoria Twp.)

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. 

Ryan Hiniker
Drainage Management Specialist


intake pic
intake pic

intake pic