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Letter: Drainage district costs

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017 12:00 p.m. CDT

To the Editor:

An interesting letter regarding cost allocations in drainage districts appeared in the Record's Dec. 15 edition.

The wet Illinois prairie of the pre-1850s became rich farmland by lowering the water table two feet or more. The cost of deep ditches to maintain lower water levels was averaged over the area converted from seasonal swampland.

Developments a hundred years later on such reclaimed land which incorporate retention ponds to compensate for impermeable housing “footprints” are as dependent upon the drainage ditches as farmland, and have much more to lose with rising water levels. Three lots valued at $500,000 cover the acre worth maybe $10,000 as farmland. Maybe the development property owners are under-assessed.

The drop in the water table caused field drainage sloughs to become small streams eroding farmland, countered by planting grass and constructing terraces, dams, etc. The slumping of ditch sides with freeze-thaw cycles, not just farmland soil migration is a major factor in drainage district expenses.

It would be interesting to see published the drainage district rationale for its assessments.

Alphonse I. Johnson


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