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Hearing on Drainage Improvements Is Focus Of Supervisor Meeting

By Staff | Nov 2, 2017

Drainage was the main focus for the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors during their regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 31 as well as budget items for the current year and fiscal year 2018-2019.

Drainage Engineer Rick Hopper from Jacobson-Westergard of Estherville was on hand to present a preliminary report for costs to improve drainage in Drainage District 47. Eight landowners were also on hand to ask questions and provide input for the project.

“The drainage district in question is located between West Bend and Mallard in Ellington Township, ” Hopper began.

Hopper went on to explain that the district was established in 1911. The existing system is very small compared to today’s standards.

“We design in what we call drainage coefficients,” Hopper explained. “Industry standards today is half-inch coefficient minimum, meaning that when a half-inch of rain is received when the ground is wet, it will take that off in a 24 hour period. A lot of districts are going to a one-inch coefficient because for about 20 to 25 percent more cost you can get twice the drainage.”

Hopper then continued to explain the two different cost estimates: half-inch coefficient will cost an estimated $971,440 total with an average cost per acre at $581.70, based on 1,670 acres. Over a 20-year payment period it will cost $47 per acre per year or at a 10-year period, the cost will be $76 per acre per year.

A one-inch coefficient will cost an estimated $1,359,380 total with an average cost of $814 per acre based on 1,670 acres. Over a 20-year payment period it will cost an average of $66 per acre per year or at 10-years, the cost will be $106 per acre per year.

“A couple of years ago we stopped putting in 15-inch direct intakes in fields,” Hopper said. “We still do it on occasion, but generally we don’t. An area drain’s official title is ‘clean water area drain.’ The Des Moines Waterworks lawsuit spurred us to do something different, so we are putting in several laterals of four-inch perforated tile, then collecting it with a six and putting it into our new system. These tiles are only 10-feet apart [the laterals] and are about 50-feet long or longer. It is a concentrated pattern tiling in a low spot.”

“Last fall when it was not draining very well, I trudged down there and I could tell there was no hole,” Doug Meyer, landowner stated. “I call Sindergard and they got out there and it didn’t take long for the water to drain. Which it should have been cleaned out years ago.”

“I have a lot of pattern tiling in the low ground that is tied into the old tile,” Frank Smith, landowner said. “Will that be able to be tied into the new tile?”

“Yes and if you have any maps on the tiling we would appreciate it,” Hopper replied.

With some further discussion, Hopper recommended that the engineer’s preliminary report be accepted and to approve bid letting in January or February. Unanimous approval was given, with bed letting to be set at a later date.

In other business, Palo Alto County Sanitarian Joe Neary was on hand and presented the Board with a request to approve payment on a Septic Grant to Steve Pitt. Unanimous approval was given.

The Supervisors reviewed a budget amendment report and set a budget amendment hearing for Tuesday Nov. 21 at 9:30 a.m.

In final business, the Supervisors received an update from Linda West from Holmes Murphy of Des Moines on county health insurance and Hugh Lively, RIDES presented the budget request for the fiscal year 2018-2019 and finally, the Supervisors voted to cancel the meeting on Nov. 7 due to city elections.