WCC discusses drain tiling
educate landowners about permits
GRAFTON – Newly-elected Walsh County Commission Chairman Ernie Barta addressed the issue of landowners drain tiling without permits at the first December meeting of the county commissioners Tuesday.
Barta asked commissioners if they thought landowners should be fined if they do drain tile work without getting a permit first and suggested a fine of $10,000 for those who don’t comply.
According to Walsh County Highway Superintendent Sharon Lipsh, landowners are required to get a drain tile permit if the area to be tiled affects the drainage on more than 80 acres of land.
Barta said there have been instances in the past year where some companies doing drain tile work have cut roads to install drain tile and didn’t notify the county. There was one instance where a road cut was left overnight creating a substantial hazard.
“I would like to see something be done with people cutting roads and things like that,” Barta said. “I don’t know if a $10,000 fine is enough of a deterrent.”
Lisph said that if a fine system was put in place, the county would need to assess the fine to the landowner, not the drain tile companies.
“Ultimately, it’s the landowners responsibility,” she said.
Instead of a fine, Lipsh suggested that they work at educating landowners that they need to have a permit if drain tile work is to be done, and that work affects more than 80 acres of land.
Lisph said most landowners don’t violate the law intentionally and when they find out are very apologetic.
After lengthy discussion the commissioners decided to send out notifications to landowners informing them of the county’s policy in regard to drain tiling and what their obligations are. The notifications will be sent out with this year’s tax statements that are scheduled to be mailed out in the next couple of weeks.
Luther Meberg made the motion to send out the notifications, it was seconded by Karen Anderson and passed unanimously.
At the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting, Barta was unanimously elected to be county commission chairman, replacing Allen Ruzicka who served in that capacity over the past year.
The board also unanimously approved Jack Karas as vice-chairman.
In other business the
• Approved a permit for Nodak
Electric Cooperative, Inc. for work along Walsh County Road 15 two miles west of Pisek. The commissioners also approved a drainage permit for Kenneth Kilichowski to clean silt from a ditch in Section 4 of Forest River Township.
• Approved a permit for an anhydrous ammonia facility in Adams belonging to Cenex Harvest States. The facility was formerly owned by the Farmers Union Oil Company of Adams.