By Tom Hintgen, Otter Tail County Correspondent

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners approved a recommendation from County Ditch Inspector Kevin Fellbaum to repair Ditch 58 located in Otto Township, southeast of Perham.

A section of this ditch also is located in nearby Pine Lake Township.

Fellbaum agreed with area landowners who said the ditch was designed to outlet into the Otter Tail River, but does not. For that reason, Fellbaum and county commissioners agreed that ditch repairs are warranted.

Ditch 58 was established May 20, 1916.

Repairs and cleanout of county ditches are an ongoing process, coordinated by Fellbaum in coordination with the five-person Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners.

Repair of Ditch 58 will begin near Albert Lake, with piping installation. Water will then be diverted into the Otter Tail River, a short distance to the west.

County ditches are regulated by the County Ditch Authority which is comprised of the County Board of Commissioners.

The five commissioners manage the systems according to Minnesota State Statute 103E. 

“The Ditch Authority is responsible for maintaining and repairing a drainage system as nearly comparable to the original design as possible,” Fellbaum said.

Repairs are determined to take place by requests from the benefitted property owners of that ditch or by the annual inspections performed by County Ditch Inspector Fellbaum.

Current ditch work in Otter Tail County includes, but is not limited to, removal of bog material, culvert replacement, general cleaning and building rock weir for flood prevention.

Once the benefitted property owners are determined, all costs incurred by the ditch system (for repairs, maintenance and inspections) are assessed back to the benefitted property owners.