Get Adobe Flash player


July 21, 2003 Tape #014

The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:30 A.M., EST in the Commissioners’ Room of the White County Building, Monticello, Indiana with Board Members Ronald Schmierer, John C. Heimlich and O. D. Ferguson, Surveyor Dennis Sterrett and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance.

Also attending were Donald Park, Clark Gick, James L. Britt, Chad Reynolds, Tony Cain, Jack Pherson, Trent Pherson, Don Johnson, James L. Hunt, Dave Fisher, Mike Ezra and Charles Mellon.

Chairman Schmierer opened the meeting and asked Jack Pherson to address the Board about his findings on the Christian Brechbiel Drain. Chairman Schmierer stated that Jack Pherson got Purdue University involved in the issue of drainage on the Brechbiel Drain.

Jack Pherson stated, “This letter is written by Jane Frankenburger, she is the one that I talked to down at Purdue University. She’s a professor more or less in drainage and things like that. I kind of roughly gave her what the project consisted of, gave her an estimate of what the watershed was to be handled by this drainage project, and I asked her, well first I told her we had this fifteen inch tile and it’s laid on .16 grade and then I talked to her about the two twelve inch tiles that run into it and how I was confused on how you could put two twelve inch tiles into a fifteen inch tile. She started discussing some things about outer wall resistance and inner core velocities and all that and after I thought about it, it all makes sense. But she says the only way you can run two twelve inch tiles into a fifteen inch tile is if the two twelve inch tiles are not on a greater grade than that fifteen inch tile. Because if you had the fifteen and the twelves on the same grade, we were using the .16, the twelves will put out basically 1.4 cubic feet per second, so you have two of them so you are putting out 2.8 cubic feet per second. The fifteen will only carry 2.7 cubic feet per second. She says that’s the maximum. But, our twelves are laid in at .21, which we’re shoving heck of a lot more water than that fifteen could ever take away. She says the catch basin out there is basically doing what it is supposed to do. It is releasing that pressure and she’s just coming right up out of there. So, that is basically what she had to say. She’s got it all pretty well written in that letter. I guess she kind of recommended to get a second opinion. She also shared some feelings about the engineering firms today doing agriculture drainage, that they just don’t quite understand how it all works out there and basically they don’t know how to read the land, the way the watershed comes off of it. They get a bunch of numbers and they go back and do their thing, whereas the drainage contractor stands around and they eyeball the land out there more than they do. She recommended a second opinion and I think Ron has been talking to Jerry Cook (contractor). Most of the private contractors out there really don’t want to say much and I can understand why. I’ve had comments from one like, ‘you’ve got two freight trains running into this tunnel and this tunnel isn’t big enough.’ One tile company said, ‘the twelves are either too big or the fifteen is too small.’ So, I guess sometime real quick we need to make a decision what we are going to do about this to turn Dr. Tribbett’s field back into a production field instead of a retention pond.”

Chairman Schmierer stated, “We had discussed this two or three meetings ago and at that time I had asked counsel, he is not here today, what our options were bringing somebody else on board with this and he said this could be done. He is not here and won’t be back this week, but let’s put this on the agenda for the next meeting and make sure we are on the right page with our legalities, see what he says, of going to another engineering firm to see what we have done and what we need to get done and how we can handle it. They designed it so I’m not against and I don’t think the Board is against getting a second opinion.”

Jack Pherson stated, “I explained to her that we cameraed (ran a camera into it) this thing and we dug it out and we shot elevations to where we feel like the fifteen is properly installed and I mentioned to her about the flat place, and she felt like if that fifteen would have been bigger in size like it should have been, we would have probably never known about that flat place. Mr. Ezra just got caught in a bad deal there.”

Chairman Schmierer stated we will put it on the agenda for the next meeting. He will get in touch with Attorney Loy before the next meeting. He said then we have to decide who we want to come and take a look at it.

The Board discussed a dead tree on Scott Street in Wolcott. The tree was left standing during the Unroe Drain reconstruction project, the roots got cut and it has died and the owner asks if we will remove it. Chairman Schmierer said it is in our right-of-way so it is our responsibility to take it out. Surveyor Sterrett asked if we do stump and all. The Board agreed that the stump should be removed also.

Surveyor Sterrett showed photos along the same street of corn stalks that have washed into town off of an adjoining field. The Town of Wolcott removed them from the Unroe ditch and they are piled up. There is a yard covered with them also. The landowner, James Britt also had photos. Chairman Schmierer thought when they dried out they would burn. Chad Reynolds, Town of Wolcott employee, said they removed them once before and they did not burn well. Chad Reynolds said they could haul them but have no place to put them. Surveyor Sterrett suggested getting a hold of Brian Furrer, he might take them. Chad said he had a call in to him and hasn’t heard back. Mr. Britt said five or six years ago they had a flood and they took the cornstalks out to Don Geib’s, but this year Don Geib’s widow and daughter wouldn’t let them take them out there. They feel that they are not off of their field.

Surveyor Sterrett said Mr. Britt has stalks in his yard and is it our responsibility? Chairman Schmierer said he did not think so. He doesn’t think the corn stalks are our responsibility but he doesn’t know what we can do with them. He said we have never taken care of cornstalks before. We have pulled them out of ditches, out of culverts. Surveyor Sterrett said, “If they are interfering with the flow of water.” Chad Reynolds said that is why they dragged them out of the Unroe Ditch. Surveyor Sterrett said we got them out of there once this year already, probably back in May.

Chairman Schmierer said any way it is done everything is charged to that ditch and the landowners pay for it, out of the ditch maintenance money. Chad Reynolds said if there is a place to take them, the town can haul them to the place, but they don’t have the facility to dump them off on themselves. He said he knows a couple of other farmers who have pastures and if they don’t have any livestock at the time they can scatter them there. Chairman Schmierer said Ned Fulkerson took the ones from the north end of town, but he doesn’t know what he did with them.

Board Member Heimlich suggested they might be able to take them to the landfill. Chairman Schmierer thought it would be expensive. Board Member Heimlich didn’t know if they might give a municipality a break on that. Chad Reynolds said they had not checked into that. Board Members Schmierer and Heimlich thought they might be able to use them for cover.

Next on the agenda was the re-approval of Cedar Hill Subdivision. Surveyor Sterrett explained that the Drainage Board had previously approved it, he and Engineer Frauhiger went and looked at it, then when it got to Area Plan, they only had a thirty foot access to one of the lots and Area Plan sent it back and said they had to have fifty feet. They couldn’t get fifty foot so they knocked it down to one lot. Surveyor Sterrett stated he did not see any problem with it and displayed a drawing of the way it was and the way it is now.

Board Member Heimlich made the motion to re-approve the second drainage plan (actually a waiver) for Cedar Hill Subdivision. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Don Johnson, farm manager came forward to address the Board concerning a drainage problem on the T. J. Woltz Drain in Union Township. He explained that Jack Pherson farms the farm that he manages, the Hinshaw farm. Chairman Schmierer stated that he went out and looked at the problem. Surveyor Sterrett said he looked at the outlet. He stated, “When we opened the tile up before July 4th. I went and looked at it after they opened the tile up and it was running good and then I just went and looked at it last week and it was running a LOT more water than it was running when we opened it up.” Trent Pherson said when he looked at it early Friday morning it hadn’t drained upstream from the hole Steve (Brooke) dug.

Don Johnson stated that 1972 was the first notes he had on this farm. He said, “Where the problem is, Frank Hicks owned that farm and it was an open ditch and had been left open a long time. That was all sand in there. Of course they had to dig way back to keep it from caving in and then they put a surface drain right there at the road which has been pulled out. This morning the surface drain was lying on top of the inlet that was going down to the tile previously and I presume that was done as part of trying to repair it. There is no water moving at what was supposed to be a surface inlet. The water is just standing there.”

Surveyor Sterrett asked, “Are you talking about on County Road 725 East?” Mr. Johnson said yes. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “They didn’t pull that out, that’s still in there. They hauled that out there and when I was out there last week, the water was coming up out of the hole, running down the road and then across the road. So, the tile coming in must have been working a little bit.”

Mr. Johnson said, “It probably was, it must be plugged there entirely because there’s no swirl or anything this morning, no water going down there at all. This is going to be a real hard area to repair, but it’s going to have to be repaired or we aren’t going to have any drainage up above that whole acreage it affects. That part of the Parrish farm and the Hinshaw farm and Jim Milligan’s farm. There’s a small watershed, but thirty years ago we thought the proper way to solve all this was to put an open ditch all the way up through that whole thing for two miles and it got defeated at that time. People on the lower end didn’t want an open ditch. That outlets at the church.”

Chairman Schmierer said he went out to see Steve Brook after he talked to Trent about it. Steve told him at that time there’s no way that he could work on it with that much water there to get down to it. He also told him that tile is twelve or fourteen feet down. Trent Pherson said that’s why they were pushing for the expertise of Wrede and Sons because Bobby Wrede told him that it was only a job for someone who has experience and knowledge in excavators. Chairman Schmierer said he doesn’t think Steve can even get down to it with the equipment the County has. Surveyor Sterrett said, “I had Wrede’s out there, that’s how I started that project, and they didn’t want to do it.”

Chairman Schmierer asked if Wrede’s are willing to go back out and do it when the water gets down. Trent Pherson said, “We talked to Wrede’s and he says it is going to be one heck of a job to do. The road HAS to be closed, no question on that. That’s where Steve said no, I’m not closing the road. To repair this, the road has to be closed for an indefinite period of time.”

Chairman Schmierer said he did know that he had told me that it is real deep and he had said he thought that Wrede’s was going to do the work.

Surveyor Sterrett asked, “You don’t think the water is moving through the tile?” Rick Roach stated, “I don’t think it is. It was.” Trent said when they looked there was only three or four inches of water coming through. Rick Roach said, “They’ve got the rock down there so you’re going to have seepage through that rock. But what I see is the sheer volume of water that is there and if that is how we’re going to go about getting that water off, you might as well abandoned those farms. In fairness to Steve Brooke and what they were attempting to do, no one knew we were going to take fourteen inches of water.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Yes, we had it opened up and it was moving good.”

Rick Roach said, “I was there when they opened it, and I thought they were attempting at that time to do it to the best of their ability without taking the road out or messing with the road. So now we have the issue of how far is the rock down there, we have a hole now across the other side of the road, on the west side of the road. There is a collapse there that wasn’t there prior to. I had several flags on that line where there was suck holes. So the question that I would like to hear addressed is how are you going to get rid of that sheer volume of water, are we going to wait through the winter and address it next spring? If we have rainfall next spring like a normal….I don’t think the water is going to get away until spring. I don’t know, it’s a bad deal. It’s not going to go away if we ignore it. I’m not a landowner but I realize we are talking considerable cost. The conversation I had with Mr. Wrede was, ‘you got a sick horse you shoot it’. So I don’t know where it goes from here but it is a bad deal.”

Chairman Schmierer asked if we had any estimate on cost from Wrede’s to do it. Rich Roach said he didn’t even know if Wrede wants to do that job.

Don Johnson stated that the long run fix needs to be an open ditch up there to solve that watershed. He said it is a small watershed, he thinks 700 acres. Chairman Schmierer said the landowners could spend enough on that tile to put in an open ditch. He asked why they don’t petition for an open ditch. Don Johnson said it got dropped dead thirty years ago. Chairman Schmierer said, “It seems like the only……if none of you are able to farm it, and you’re telling me that’s the only way you’re going to drain it….where would the open ditch go to?”

Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Down to Pike Creek.” Chairman Schmierer asked how far are we talking about? Don Johnson answered, “Two mile is the last figure that was given back in my old notes. Right now you have a sandy open ditch feeding into a tile which never works. I think that is the ultimate solution.”

Rick Roach said he is going to visit with Mrs. Gephart that owns the old Frank Hicks farm and he is going to tell her that he sees no reason to put crops on that farm with the conditions there is now. It is not worth the risk. Don Johnson said he suspects that for what it would cost to repair this project, you could have an open ditch dug from the outlet up to that point. Rick Roach thought at least get an open ditch from the road to that first pond or something.

Chairman Schmierer asked if the tile would have to be that deep again if you put a new tile in. He thought it would probably have to be that deep to carry the water away. Rick asked, “Denny, do you think even with today’s technology, how do you hold tile in that bottom? You can’t, can you?” Don Johnson said that was the reason it was dug open and left open for many years when Frank Hicks owned it, they couldn’t keep the bottom in it.

Mike Ezra stated that you can use the smooth core tile and it will hold the bottom. He said it is harder to install but it will hold the bottom. Don Johnson said we’re talking at least eighteen inch tile. Chairman Schmierer said it would probably cost you as much to put twenty four inch tile in as it would to dig a ditch. Mike Ezra said it depends on how deep the ditch is going to be. Rick Roach said from the road to the pond is probably twelve to fourteen feet deep there. It was originally open ditch there in that stretch. He said problems continue to be created in that stretch, that is where they have blow ups.

Chairman Schmierer said, “If we go in there and spend a ton of money on that tile, the landowners are going to pay for it and then we still don’t have anything when we get done if it doesn’t work. A repair job could be tremendous there.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “You have to repair it anyway, right? To get the water out.”

Board Member Heimlich said, “There’s two questions, what are we doing short term to get that water off?” Someone said Jim Hunt was the only landowner here and asked him what he thought. Jim Hunt said, “I don’t move until the water moves.”

Chairman Schmierer asked how big the watershed is. Board Member Heimlich answered 628 acres.

Mike Ezra said you want to keep in mind to put air vents in the old tile if they decide to stay with that. Don Johnson said they actually had that on the system. He said at the road there was a big riser.

It was decided to contact Wrede’s and if they don’t want to do it, find somebody who has the equipment needed. Chairman Schmierer asked Mike Ezra to look at it. Chairman Schmierer said we might have to raise the rates on the drain if we have to do two or three thousand dollars worth of work on it. There is $1,380.00 in the maintenance fund.

Don Johnson said, “It will take two years anyway to get an open ditch so we have to fix it anyway.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “You know there’s a lot of ponding water in White County that is not moving. I don’t know whether it is because the tiles are not working or what.” Don Johnson said, “This one has an open outlet though, and no water is moving.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “What I am saying, before we got all this water, I went down and looked at it after we opened it up it was moving. Now more water is coming out than it was. I looked at it last Thursday. It was running, but you can’t tell whether it’s running in the hole yet.”

Chairman Schmierer said, “There isn’t hardly any way to repair it with all that water there right now is there?” Don Johnson said we all know it is real sandy there so that’s an added problem.

Mike Ezra said he has the equipment to do it and will look at it. Chairman Schmierer said when he talked to Steve Brooke he thought that Wrede’s did not want to do it with the water there. Trent Pherson said Wrede said if you find another contractor I won’t be upset. Chairman Schmierer said if he can’t handle it, he’s smart to turn it down. Tony Cain asked if the Board is willing to put it in debt. Chairman Schmierer said we may have to raise the maintenance rate to pay for it. He said we have to get relief.

Rick Roach suggested a catch basin east of the road to make a place for water to come in and silt out and then go. Mike said you can put a riser pipe on it and it won’t take the dirt in. Surveyor Sterrett said that’s what that pipe was out there that you saw, they were going to try to sit that down on the tile.

Rick Roach asked if there was any funding available out there, would this be a project that would qualify through EQUIP or any other? Dave Fisher, Benton County Commissioner, stated he thought if you were below ground you were out of luck. Don Johnson said it wouldn’t hurt to apply for a structure and see if you could get it approved.

Chairman Schmierer stated, “Mike says he’ll go take a look at it and if he can’t do it, Denny will have to find somebody else to get some relief there. We’ll keep working on it.”

Clark Gick, Chalmers Town Council representative, addressed the Board concerning water problems in Chalmers. Clark Gick stated, “We have a situation that we are dealing with, water on the west side that stands when we have heavy rains. We originally dealt with this 4/12/01. We had employed a preliminary study by Samuel L. Moore & Associates to do some research on the particular situation. They gave us some options to look at as far as the tile itself. We also took it upon ourselves to work with a company to inspect the tile and found out there were some blockages. That was cleaned out. Monticello helped us with one of their trucks to clean our storm drains. Subsequent rains, up until this last one, were able to be moved out of town fairly well. We put a riser in an alley that helped elevate a manhole and eliminate some of the problem. But, we are going to have to continue to address this concern. This of course was rain by far beyond anything anyone expected, but we don’t want to be unprepared in the future. This last rain did a considerable amount of output for several days and even though we had cleaned the drains it was still worse than the situation that occurred in 2001. So what the town is seeking, essentially, is we have the study that was done by Samuel L. Moore & Associates, to have you review that and I have a partial study here I can get the complete one, I didn’t have the opportunity to get that together, but if you would like this I can give you these for right now. It gives you basic synopsis of what has taken place and some options on second page. We have some photographs. I’d like to have these back. This is what happened in 2001 and then this is from the subsequent rain. We are going to take it upon ourselves to come up with some additional resolutions but we are requesting assistance in possibly restructuring the tile system to help accommodate these excessive rains.”

Chairman Schmierer stated, “I have talked to Don Park and Marc King before, and I have been down to Chalmers to these meetings before, and it is the same thing we come back to is the finances. The Town of Chalmers doesn’t have the finances to put their own storm sewers in. So, actually, we’re using a farm tile (A. Friday Tile) to drain that side (west) of town. That’s what is there, a farm tile. I do know that we have spent some money on that farm tile when Rick Raderstorf was Surveyor here we took the willow trees out and did a bunch of cleanout down through there. I don’t know what Samuel L. Moore & Associates told you at the time, but to get that town drained, there’s no way that the farm tile that’s in there now is going to drain that town. The town is going to have to put another tile in I’m sure.”

Clark Gick replied, “Yes, that’s essentially the options that were given.”

Chairman Schmierer continued, “So, you come back to it, it is going to be the situation of money even though you’re draining the town and going to have to go across the farmers’ property to get some right-of-ways. The town is going to have to come up with the finances for it; you can’t expect the farmer to have to pay for it. Right now, these tiles are on assessment and there’s very little assessment to the people who live in that town and the money that has been spent on it has all been spent on the town. So that’s where we get into trouble, and I understand the dilemma the Town of Chalmers is in. We have the same problems in every small town around. I don’t know what Samuel L. Moore & Associates came up with, but I think they were trying to get it out of that particular tile, too.”

Clark Gick answered, “Yes, two of the alternatives are essentially to structure a new tile and run it out of town. One was to revamp the existing tile and go that route.”

Chairman Schmierer said the last meeting he was at, the Town of Chalmers had some firm out of Lafayette working for them and they were going to go through Kankakee-Iroquois Planning to try to get a grant. He said you got the grant for the sewers and didn’t get the grant for the other, I do know they were applying for it, trying to get a grant for that. Don Park said they are working on getting the sewage done and then they will work on the next grant. He said any help from the Commissioners to get a tile would be appreciated. He said they have some problems there. Chairman Schmierer said they are solving one of their problems, with the sewage now.

Board Member Heimlich stated, “It is obvious that tile isn’t big enough to drain that side of town plus all that farm ground, there’s just way too much water going in to that.” Chairman Schmierer said the field of Chuck Bossung’s there goes down to the Shigley Drain. That is the old cathedral type tile. Don Park said the problem is that only the people that are drowning out are interested, nobody else gives a hoot really.

Clark Gick said, “We’re just open right now and thought we would try this. I appreciate your time.” Chairman Schmierer said I don’t think any of us have a quick fix answer for you. Board Member Heimlich said, “I was just looking at the various alternatives that Samuel L. Moore & Associates had come up with. The cheapest was just a direct route from the town to the outlet and that was with solid tile. That was still almost $400,000.00.”

Board Member Heimlich asked what size pipe they were talking about putting in on alternative #1, the one that would run parallel to the existing drain. Board Member Ferguson answered thirty six inch diameter pipe. Surveyor Sterrett said it needed a forty two inch pipe but a thirty six would be cheaper. Board Member Ferguson said all three alternatives were based on a thirty six diameter pipe. Board Member Heimlich asked if that was going to be a County drain or not. Chairman Schmierer said when he was down there that was not proposed as a County drain, that was what they were proposing for the City to do, to finance and try to get a grant for it. Board Member Heimlich said, “But none of these options were going to be paid for by a watershed.” Chairman Schmierer answered ‘no, it was all for the town’. It was for the town to come up with. It would be no benefit to the farmers.” Surveyor Sterrett said they were just running it that way to use the easements.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that last month before the rain we had outlets repaired on Big Creek, I think we had ten or twelve of them. We went ahead and had them done and it came to around $7,000.00 and I know we are going to have more so should I go ahead and do that or should I bring it to the Board? We have an order for ten of them washed out on the Big Pine. The Board agreed that if they need replaced, go ahead and replace them.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that he was up at the Sluyter Ditch and we got the tree out of there that was down in the ditch. Chairman Schmierer said he would go up there with Surveyor Sterrett to look at that. The residents right on the ditch want it cleaned out. Chairman Schmierer said they have put trailers and everything else right on the ditch bank and he doesn’t see how we can ever clean it out.

Board Member Ferguson made a motion to approve the minutes of the last meeting. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

James Britt from Wolcott stated he felt that there was so much water coming down through the Unroe Ditch in Wolcott, it is coming from over two miles away, those culverts need to be enlarged. Chairman Schmierer said we just have a little bit of open ditch and the rest of it is tile. Surveyor Sterrett said it goes down to the treatment plant. Mr. Britt said then it is a waterway the rest of the way to the County Ditch there. Chairman Schmierer asked how long that is. Chad Reynolds said about a mile of open ditch at the most. Surveyor Sterrett explained that there is an open ditch and the tile runs parallel to it. Mr. Britt said all the way out, they don’t join, they run separate. Chairman Schmierer said he thought they joined before they got to Highway 24. Chad Reynolds said they stay on the south side of Scott Street across Highway 24. He said they might join in at Burke Street. Surveyor Sterrett said, “No, there’s an open ditch that goes on down. There’s one along the railroad track and then there’s the Unroe goes on down the sewage treatment plant and turns into waterway, which the tile is probably under the waterway. Mr. Britt said, “That waterway, it’s not supposed to be farmed is it? It’s supposed to be grass but it’s farmed so the first culvert there right by where I live is pretty well busted and there’s six or seven rocks that are so big right there by the mouth of it. The backhoe for the County came down and picked a piece of cement up out of the bottom and set it down about where it belonged but didn’t bother to get the rocks out of the bottom or nothing else. Then the top of that pipe about ten foot in, when the sewage was put in Wolcott, was caved in and it is still caved in. I complained and everything else to them and there was a company out of Illinois that was doing the work and they went bankrupt, but anyway they took and came down and uncovered it and laid a piece of steel over it and covered it up and said it would be good enough. It has still been down about so far in the top of that pipe and that’s not helping the situation, even under ordinary times.” Chairman Schmierer said he is not familiar with it, to answer his question he would have to go look at it.

Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.