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June 7th, 2010



The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:30 A. M. in the Commissioners’ Room of the White County Building, Monticello, Indiana. Board members present were: President Ronald Schmierer, Vice President Steve Burton, and Drainage Board Member John Heimlich. Also present were Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis Sterrett, Drainage Assistant Mary Sterrett and Secretary Jamie Rozzi.


Also in attendance were Sharon Watson with White County Soil & Water, landowner Richard Ploss, and Charlie Mellon.


The first item on the agenda was to approve the minutes from the May 17th, 2010 meeting. Board Member Burton so moved. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.


The next item on the agenda was to open quotes for the G. W. Chamberlain Maintenance Project.


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "We are cleaning 2,450 feet of it. It is paid by the Fraser. My estimate was $1.00 per foot, $2,450--and the Fraser has about $50,000 in it right now and we haven’t collected for 2009 or 2010 yet so there will be…"


Attorney Loy stated that three quotes were received for the G. W. Chamberlain Maintenance Project. Quotes were as follows:


County Line Tiling/Excavating $2,400.00

Gutwein Bulldozing & Excavating $1,679.00

DeVault Farms $1,935.00


Chairman Schmierer stated, "Well, I guess Gutwein is the low bid and he’s always done good work for us. I would consider a motion to accept Gutwein’s bid for $1,679.00."


Board Member Heimlich made a motion to accept the bid from Gutwein Bulldozing and Excavating in the amount of $1,679.00 for the G. W. Chamberlain Maintenance Project. Board Member Burton seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.


The second item on the agenda was to discuss the Hoosier Lift ponds in Wolcott.


Surveyor Sterrett explained, "I digitized the plans today and thought I would show them to you in case you didn’t know. Here is the pit that the ponds are supposed to drain into and then it was pumped into Jasper County. The pumps are burnt up and now they come in, whenever I call them, and stick a six inch pump in and its forced down to Carpenter Creek. So, they pump this pond down and then the middle pond is supposed to have 18 inch equalizer pipes and they are at an elevation of 726. The bottom of the pond is 722 so there is four feet of water that doesn’t get out."


Chairman Schmierer stated, "It was full of brush and stuff around there."


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "Well, it’s still got some willows around it. The waterway is clear. The idea was gravity flow down to the manholes and this was an eight inch sewer line that ran back down to the lift station. When the lift station got full it was pumped out. So, the problem is that down at the east end, this is the third pond—they are all about a quarter mile long—they are supposed to bring the drainage from the north side of the tracks, through the swale and into a pipe into this pond. When these ponds back up then the water starts backing out into this, runs over the bank and into the field. Somebody calls us and then we have to call the railroad and they come and pump it."


Board Member Heimlich asked, "How big were those pumps originally?"


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "One pump was all they used and the other was a stand-by. I went back to some of the old minutes. Rick was having problems with it in 2001…"


Chairman Schmierer stated, "I’ve been out there several times."


Board Member Heimlich asked, "I’m just wondering why they never replaced it instead of trying to bring a pump out? I’m just wondering how expensive that was….why they never replaced it?"


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "In 2004, one of the railroad guys said they got an estimate from Culp in Remington to replace it. I called them and he said they wanted replacement and their cost was $30,000 to put two new pumps in there and get them working. Evidently, they thought that was too much."


Chairman Schmierer stated, "I was trying to figure out who farms that."


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "Mathews used to turn them on."


Board Member Heimlich stated, "Denny Mathew is back there and Federer is close too."


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "The reason I knew about it this time was because of Connie Neininger. She got a hold of me over there and that’s what it looked like. The water was running out into this field. There’s a county tile out there, but it won’t take all of that. It goes clear back to the Stoller, north of Wolcott."


Board Member Burton stated, "Back up on that statement a little bit…if you close off the flow of water that is coming back through…will the county tile take care of that farm ground if you remove…so far you talking about water running off of the railroad site and off of pond three you have the pipe coming across the north side. Now, that is where that water is back feeding, creating this problem, right? If that water from the rail site didn’t back feed through here, would the county tile take care of those farm fields?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "I think it’s slow."


Board Member Burton asked, "Do they benefit from that pond…if the ponds were working right?"


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "It looks like somebody dug a trench to get rid of the water, but instead, it worked backwards, but this has been dammed up over here with rocks. So, that water went somewhere after they pumped it down."


Board Member Heimlich asked, "Did you talk to the railroad?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "Yeah, I called the guy…"


Board Member Heimlich asked, "And what did he say?"


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "They brought their pumps over and pumped it out."


Board Member Heimlich asked, "So they pumped it? When was the last time they pumped it?"


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "The last time I was over there was June of 2009."


Board Member Heimlich stated, "They don’t usually pump it unless someone calls."


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "Not really. They can’t get that water out of these unless they stick the hose in the third pond and pump it out because one pond runs into the other pond."


Attorney Loy asked, "What is the date on that drainage plan?"


Surveyor Sterrett stated, ‘1991, I think. So, we’ve been fighting it for ten years."


Chairman Schmierer stated, "The first year I was on here we were out there three or four times."


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "I just wondered if the Wolcott Corridor would have anything to do with this because…"


Attorney Loy stated, "There is property and/or an easement we have to acquire for the Wolcott Corridor, but I don’t know…"


Board Member Burton stated, "There was someone that stated that he felt the water should be going back towards town instead of going to Jasper County…and that would help that….Mr. Furrer."


Chairman Schmierer stated, "I don’t know how we’re ever going to come to a solution because the railroad doesn’t want to do anything or won’t do anything, except pump it when we tell them. We’ve been fighting it for some time."


Board Member Heimlich stated, "I don’t know why they wouldn’t want to replace the automatic pumps and be done with it."


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "This is the county tile…it goes 2 miles and empties into the Stoller."


Board Member Burton stated, "Even if it goes north it’s going to outlet in the same place. The county tile to the north of the tracks…"


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "Yeah, I think that’s the reason they took it to Jasper County because those tile wouldn’t handle it."


Board Member Heimlich stated, "That’s what I was saying…whether it would make any difference or not if they dead ended the pond so it couldn’t come back…whether the farmers would be better off with the county tile or the excess water from the railroad running back in the field."


Surveyor Sterrett asked, "You mean fill in their pond?"


Board Member Burton stated, "No, in your plans you are showing that Pond 3 has a pipe that brings the water from the north side of the tracks across…when the ponds fill up the water is back feeding through that and basically running out on the farm fields."


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "Yeah, essentially that’s it."


Board Member Burton asked, "So if you dead end that, or not allow it to back flow, will it help those farmers?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "I would say no because I would say that pond would fill up every time it rains and it wouldn’t have any place to go but out there."


Board Member Burton asked, "Out the east end? What if we didn’t allow it to come out the east end?"


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "Well, they will soon run over. I see what you are saying…"


Board Member Burton asked, "Would it help the farmer any? The county tile might be slower, but on the average would with them only using the county tile would that be better than having the railroad in their system."


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "I don’t know. You’d have to cut a deeper trench to get it over to the county tile."


Board Member Burton stated, "I’m not saying to take any of the railroad’s water, I’m trying to help the farmers out there."


Chairman Schmierer asked, "What do you suggest we do with it, Denny?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "The correct thing would be to get the pumps to work so we don’t have to…"


Chairman Schmierer stated, "Why don’t you send the railroad a letter and tell them to fix it and get it back to automatic. It’s not acceptable to keep flooding the neighbor’s farm ground."


Attorney Loy stated, "This is all pre-drainage ordinance, but still…"


Chairman Schmierer stated, "But I’m saying…at least start a process, send a letter and start a process and keep going after them. I don’t know what else to do."


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "I think that was suggested when Rick was here, but I couldn’t find any letter that he wrote."


Chairman Schmierer stated, "I don’t think it ever got done, but it needs to be done because if I was one of those farmers I’d be upset too if I were losing my crops all the time."


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "Right now I’m having pretty good luck getting a hold of them. They come out the next day and pump it. I don’t know what a letter is going to do to that."


Chairman Schmierer stated, "It’s not going to hurt anything."


Attorney Loy asked, "Where did you get the drainage plan?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "I got it from Jasper County."


Attorney Loy stated, "I saw that it was marked filed. Who is it filed with? Jasper County Drainage Board…"


Board Member Heimlich stated, "Probably with Jasper County because it outlets into Carpenter Creek."


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "They were supposed to get a hold of the Commissioners every time they wanted to pump…to make sure it was alright to pump it."


Chairman Schmierer asked, "Up in Jasper County?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied "Yeah. They didn’t want it to flood anything."


Attorney Loy asked, "So, the problem you are talking about…Jasper County doesn’t have any interest in it?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "No, they aren’t getting the water. It’s not hurting any of their ground."


Attorney Loy stated, "Well, since it has been filed with a drainage board we might…I’ll get together with you. We’ll send them a letter. That is still a viable drainage plan; if the pumps were working it would be ok?"


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "Yeah, but the only thing they can use right now is the pit. Probably, that eight inch tile that runs to that pit…I don’t know what would happen if you got the water off of it. It has standing water all the time."


Attorney Loy stated, "We need the railroad’s cooperation with the Wolcott Corridor project….keep that in mind."


Chairman Schmierer stated, "Well, you’re going to have to have cooperation out of the neighbors too…so if you don’t do anything to help the neighbor you’re going to have a wetland."


Board Member Heimlich stated, "Well, if that develops out there it could get worse."


The next item on the agenda is Horizon Wind Energy (Meadow Lake Wind Farm) to discuss electric lines crossing regulated drains.


Surveyor Sterrett explained, "I got a phone call from Wayne Beck and he wanted to know if we required ditch markers where the buried electric crosses our ditches. The question was do we have a requirement to mark drainage ditches where power lines cross? I said as County Surveyor I am recommending that these markers be placed on each ditch bank. I just thought I’d bring it to the board and get your approval on that."


Chairman Schmierer stated, "If you ever clean the ditch you might want to know where they’re at before you start pulling them out of the ground. So you have that taken care of?"


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "I can email him back and tell him that you approved…that we need them."


The next item is to discuss repair of a rock chute on the W. A. Pitts Tile.


Surveyor Sterrett explained, "Scott Schneider had a waterway there that was in the system it went into a rock chute and now he wants to re-enroll for the waterway and the rock chute is in bad shape. I went and got an estimate from a contractor to repair that and his estimate was $5,740. He was going to essentially start over. The main thing was to get a footing in the front of it so the water doesn’t go underneath like it does now. He had an estimate of 66 ton of rip-rap, 22 ton of stone, bedding, 10 cubic yards of grout, 16 hours of excavation, and 16 hours of labor."


Chairman Schmierer asked, "Is there any money in the Pitts?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "There’s quite a bit actually."


Chairman Schmierer asked, "Was it a private rock chute to start with?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "We put it in."


Chairman Schmierer asked, "Is that one you were talking about with the conservation…"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "Yes, he just wants to renew his CRP."


Ms. Watson stated, "He doesn’t qualify because it’s not a waterway."


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "No, that’s not the one that is deep."


Ms. Watson stated, "Oh, then I don’t know. I don’t know if he qualified for that one or not. Dan is working on that."


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "Well it probably needs fixed anyway, regardless. The waterway comes into it and then it goes to the open ditch. There is a county tile that runs along that waterway, well, off to the side of it. The Pitts tile has $11,000 in the maintenance fund. We quit collecting on it in 2002. They raised the maintenance to $3.00 an acre to put in that rock chute. I met DeVault out there and asked him for an estimate on it. We discussed how we would put it back and it was going to be put in like it was before except there was going to be a footing put in front of it, which we think didn’t happen."


Board Member Burton made a motion to approve the estimate for the rock chute to be repaired on the W. A. Pitts. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.


The next item on the agenda was to discuss a tile repair on the J. M. Timmons Br. 2 of Br. 4.


Chairman Schmierer asked, "Is that up in Cass Township?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "Yes, this is 900 East - 625 North. We’ve been working on the tile. On May 12th there was ponding water out there. We went out there to look for a hole, Rick Roach farms near there and Cartmell farms to the north. Last year we had a repair that was about 12 suck holes and JVS went out had to put in 200 feet of tile in. The pond is behind where he put that in. So, we walked the tile and didn’t find any suck holes and when we came out we found one just north of the trailer yard. I called JVS and he went out and fixed it and put in 20 feet of 10 inch in and that tile could have been causing the ponding water. We went out there last week and there wasn’t any ponding water. They had it planted, but it was still pretty wet. I talked to Jim Simons and he thought we needed to put 200 feet in.


Chairman Schmierer asked, "Are we in debt?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "No, we’re not in debt, but I didn’t want to spend that much. He wants to put 200 more feet in to see if that is going to drain. I don’t know….he says the tile is no good and it keeps crumbling."


Chairman Schmierer asked, "Is that paid by the Timmons?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "Yes. Mr. Ploss wants Branch 1 cleaned."


Chairman Schmierer asked, "Has it been petitioned?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "No, it hasn’t been petitioned…well, he said it was when George was here, but..."


Mr. Ploss explained, "The whole thing doesn’t need it because Ray Smolek cleaned through him up to that road and he says the sewer isn’t right. I’ve been trying to get that cleaned since Jim Milligan was in here. I petitioned it with George. Now, I just signed the petition myself. When I came back, whoever was here, couldn’t find it. I’ve seen Denny about three or four times. I would just like to know how…"


Chairman Schmierer asked, "How many landowners are on it?"


Mr. Ploss replied, "Just about four, I think."


Surveyor Sterrett asked, "On that part or on the whole watershed?"


Board Member Heimlich stated, "Just on that branch."


Mr. Ploss stated, "On that branch, I think there are just about four."


Chairman Schmierer asked, "Is that a tile or an open ditch?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "It’s an open ditch."


Chairman Schmierer asked, "What did you say about the sewer?"


Mr. Ploss replied, "Under the road."


Chairman Schmierer stated, "Oh, the culvert."


Mr. Ploss stated, "My tile has been under water for a long time. It’s washing out the bank now. I don’t even know where the tile is, I can’t find it. The other side hasn’t washed out yet, but…it’s been under water for several years. It is still draining some though, I don’t understand that."


Chairman Schmierer asked, "Don’t we need a petition to do anything with it or are you going to do it under maintenance?"


Surveyor Sterrett replied, "There’s about $4,000 in the maintenance fund. It’s $1.00 an acre. We spent $4,000 on that tile."


Mr. Ploss stated, "When I was in there the last time you said there was plenty of money in there, but I didn’t know about that tile."


Chairman Schmierer stated, "If we do it under maintenance it doesn’t matter, if we do it under reconstruction then you have to have a hearing. How big of a project do you think it would be?"


Mr. Ploss stated, "From the road west it’s all been cleaned, he just dipped it out. He said he just did it on his own, I don’t know."


Surveyor Sterrett stated, "He probably had Ezra do it. Without surveying it, I can just write up some specs of just cleaning it from the road to the east."


Chairman Schmierer stated, "Why don’t you do that for us and see if you can’t get him some relief, please."


Surveyor Sterrett asked, "Do you want to wait until fall now, because of the crops?"


Mr. Ploss replied, "I have filter strip…Smolek, I don’t think they have filter strip. If I can get it done this fall I’d be happy. When they drained the main Timmons ditch, Jim Milligan was Surveyor. I couldn’t come to the meeting so I called and asked him if they were going to do Branch 4 and he said he was sure they are. It costs me $1,300 and I thought if they’re going to clean that then I have objections. Well, they never did it. They only went part way. I don’t know. "


Chairman Schmierer asked if there was anything further for the board. Chairman Schmierer then adjourned the drainage board.