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Supervisors Approve Drainage Plans

By Staff | Jul 23, 2009

The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors approved a plan for improvements to a lateral tile line in West Bend Township during its weekly session on July 21. The action came following a presentation by Drainage Engineer Rick Hopper, with 10 landowners from the affected area in attendance in the boardroom of the Palo Alto County Courthouse.

In presenting his report, Hopper, of Jacobson-Westergard and Associates of Estherville, explained that Drainage District 61 was first established in 1913 and features an open ditch, along with numerous laterals, including Lateral J, which runs through Sections two, three, 10 and 11 of West Bend Township.

“Lateral J actually has five laterals that run off of it, J1 through J5,” Hopper noted, and the lower 3,800 feet of Lateral J has a drainage coefficient of 1/8 to 1/16. It’s just not very good. The tile is approximately 100 years old and it has held up pretty well, but it has very minimal grade to it, and with the low coefficient, water just doesn’t move very fast.

Hopper presented a report with four options for the district to consider. The first, Option A, would follow 460 Street from 570 Avenue and would include boring under the Union Pacific railroad tracks. Option B would feature a new tile line, paralleling the existing Lateral J, starting south of where the railroad crosses the open main ditch. Option C would feature an extension of the original route of Lateral J to Lateral J4 in Section 3. Option D would place tile along the original route of Lateral J1 from its connection to the main lateral to Lateral J4.

“I would recommend that you consider Option B, in order to avoid having to bore under the railroad,” Hopper noted. “That permit would be very, very expensive. With this option, we could go with a 30-inch tile on the lower end, and then go down to a 24-inch tile. It would run parallel to the existing tile, have a coefficient of ½-inch and would be cross-connected to the existing lateral, so it would basically double the capacity of the lateral.

“I’d personally like to see all the options done on this, but it’s up to what the other folks want,” landowner Fred Wirtz noted. “But at the very least, I’d like to seed the tile brought to my fence line.

To address that statement, Hopper suggested also pursuing Option C, taking that part of the tile to Wirtz’ property line in Section Three.

The question was asked about construction time. Hopper replied that he saw no reason why bids could not be let in the next few weeks, and actual construction being completed yet this year. “I would suggest you allow the contractor a little leeway time next Spring if need be.

“Could we offer a bonus for early completion of the work?” asked Board Chair Ed Noonan.

“We could do that, but I don’t think that’s really necessary,” Hopper said. “There are a lot of contractors out there looking for work.”

By discussing Option B and part of Option C, Hopper estimated the cost to landowners in the district would be in the $400 to $440 an acre range for the project.

An informal poll of the landowners present saw the majority in favor of the plan, which led Supervisor Ron Graettinger to move to accept the preliminary report and approve Hopper’s recommendations for Option B and Option C up to Station 76.14 of the Lateral. Supervisor Keith Wirtz offered a second and the motion passed unanimously.

In another drainage item, the board met via conference call with the Humboldt and Pocahontas County Boards of Supervisors to accept specifications for repairs to Tri-Joint Drainage District 1. The joint boards also voted to set August 11 at 11 a.m. as the time for the bid letting for the repairs to the ditch. The repair project is being paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency due to flooding damage sustained in 2008.