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Agreement Reached For Drainage Repair

By Staff | Jun 1, 2011

A long standing drainage concern in West Bend Township will be addressed after many years, following action by the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 24.

In his weekly report on road-related matters, Palo Alto County Engineer Joel Fantz brought up a request made to his office by Martin Zaugg, a landowner in Section six of West Bend Township. Zaugg requested that a culvert be installed under 460th Street, to help alleviate long-standing drainage problems in the area, which is in Drainage District 12.

The area has long been an area of concern for landowners and the county, due to various issues with the drainage facilities.

“Martin came to our office and has requested we install a culvert, which would allow water to drain from property on one side of the road, which he owns, down to property on the other side of the road that he also owns, so effectively, he would be draining the water onto his own property,” Fantz explained. “Martin has offered to pay half the cost of the culvert project, with the DD picking up the other half.”

Several years ago, a petition for improvements to DD12, including such a culvert, were proposed, but a remonstrance effort killed the project at that time, leaving the area with problem spots, such as the area identified by Zaugg.

At the same time as the request for the culvert, a request was also made for a long-stick excavator project to dip silt from the outlet area of the DD12 open ditch.

“In visiting with Martin on this, I did ask him if he would sign a hold-harmless agreement against the county if the culvert were installed, since he would be taking water onto his property,” Fantz told the supervisors. “Martin agreed with that stipulation and agreed to pay half the cost.”

According to Fantz, other pipes in the area have had issues over the years with clogging, and the district has issues with beavers as well, due to the geographics of the location. Fantz noted that he was proposing a culvert at least 36″ in diameter to try and avoid some of those long-running issues.

“Will that larger culvert help reduce clogging then?” Board Chair Keith Wirtz asked. “Yes, and it will make it easier to unplug if need be,” Fantz answered.

The engineer did recommend that the board run the proposal past Drainage Engineer Don Etler, primarily to ascertain the appropriate height of the culvert in relation to the other drainage structures in the vicinity.

“I think that’s probably a very good idea,” agreed Wirtz. “Don did a lot of engineering down there before that remonstrance and he should have all that information.”

Supervisor Ed Noonan moved to approve the installation of a 36′ culvert crossing 460th Street between Sections five and eight of West Bend Township, in the area of an existing standpipe, at the elevation of the existing standpipe, with half of the cost to be paid by Martin Zaugg and the other half of the costs to be paid by the DD12 Open Ditch, pending a favorable review by Drainage Engineers Kuehl and Payer.

Supervisor Ron Graettinger offered a second and the motion was passed unanimously.

“That culvert should be right at the grade of the DD,” Wirtz noted. “Martin is going to be taking the water onto his own land, so I really think this is the best way to finally do this.”

“This has been a longstanding issue of at least 10 years,” Fantz agreed. “I never thought it would be resolved, but in this case, this solution is a classic win-win.”