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Drainage Issue Discussed With Homeowners

By Staff | Jun 28, 2011

An ongoing drainage issue, exacerbated by the recent rainy spell, brought and Emmetsburg couple before the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors during its June 21 meeting. Jim and Joann Coakley appeared to ask the board what could be done to address standing water surrounding their home on three sides.

The Coakleys, who live in the 1800 block of 25 Street, have been battling water in their home increasingly since the development of the City of Emmetsburg’s Industrial Park, directly to the east of their home. The problem of standing water has reportedly increased since the new service center facility for Iowa Lakes Rural Electric Cooperative was built next door to their home in 2009.

“We’ve lived there for 37 years and we’ve had water now the last two years,” Jim Coakley told the supervisors. “The parking lot at Iowa Lakes Electric slopes to the west and the water comes towards us. There’s a six-inch tile out there and it isn’t keeping up anymore.”

Palo Alto County Engineer Joel Fantz noted that he had been contacted and looked into the problem. “There is a drainage district there that does drain property in the city limits, DD180 Lateral 30. From what I’m seeing and the drainage maps show, I think it’s a severely overloaded tile.”

“We’re tired of paying to fix damages to our house,” Joann Coakley said.

“I’ve got three pumps running non-stop right now, but all I’m doing is just circulating the water, I’m afraid,” Jim Coakley said.

Fantz noted that when the city developed the industrial park, a detention pond for excess water had been designed into the area. However, it was a good distance away from where the current standing water problem is. “I am aware that ILEC would like to see this problem addressed as well, and they’d be willing to do their fair share to help.”

“We were told that the water just naturally flows to the west and that’s how it was,” Coakley said. “I’m tired of hearing that.”

The supervisors were sympathetic to the problem, looking at drainage maps to identify the lateral line, and agreed that the area was in need of study.

“I would recommend that you contact Don Etler, as Kuehl and Payer did the actual design work on the Industrial Park,” Fantz said. “This is just an old, inadequate farm tile that is being asked to drain too much water now.”

Board Chair Keith Wirtz explained to the Coakleys that for the board to take any action, a drainage petition must be filed, which the board would accept and direct an engineer to examine the problem. “We can’t make anything happen other than that right away, but it would be a start.”

Jim Coakley agreed to sign a petition, which the board acknowledged and directed Deputy Auditor Carmen Moser to contact Don Etler to set the request in motion.

In other business, the board approved a fuel bid for the Secondary Road Department for the upcoming fiscal year that begins on July 1. Fantz presented the supervisors with the bid tabulation, which saw the low bid submitted by Pro Coop, which has branches in Graettinger and Ruthven. Pro Coop’s total bid for number two diesel, number one diesel and gasohol totaled $642,059.01. The bid includes delivery to each of the county’s secondary road facilities, as well as the County Conservation Board location at Lost Island Lake.

Other bids for the fuels were received from Star Energy in the amount of $644,398.51; MaxYield Cooperative in the amount of $645,083.01, Ruthven Coop Oil with a total of $646,423.51 and Green Plains Energy in the amount of $661,211.01.

“We had very competitive bids,” Fantz noted, “and four of the bidders were locations in our county, with just one, Green Plains, being outside the county.”

Under county procedures, a bidding preference is given to bidders with locations in the county. That preference of $.01 per gallon was applied to the Pro Coop, Star Energy, Ruthven Coop Oil and MaxYield.

“The bids were actually quite competitive with what was bid last year,” Fantz noted. “Basically, the bid came down to nine and a half cents over the Iowa rack price for fuel.”

On a unanimous vote of the board, the contract was approved.