Paulding Ditch Maintenance
How do I as a landowner begin the process to make drainage improvements on my land involving an open ditch or large tile outlet?
Ditch maintenance is an important and often overlooked (but necessary) expense. Improper drainage can lead to flooding, deterioration of the roads, etc. Landowners are able to petition the county for improvements to drainage and ditches on their property (O.R.C. Ch. 6131 and 6137). Upon the filing of a petition, the county may make necessary improvements and assess the property owner(s) for the cost. After the project is complete, those benefitted will also be assessed for maintenance costs.
Conservation Works of Improvement, known as Senate Bill 150 (ORC 940.19) assists landowners to make drainage improvements for group projects like open ditch reconstruction, installation of new outlet tile, reshaping or building of grassed waterways and other drainage improvement practices.
Ohio Law Provides Four methods to make improvements:
Private: Private projects are completed with no involvement by any outside agency. The neighbors get together and agree on what they want to do, they hire a contractor and pay the bill when the project is finished.
Mutual Agreement projects are done under the supervision of the local Soil and Water Conservation District. The SWCD provides survey and design and construction inspection at no charge. This method does take 100% agreement by all involved. Monies are collected prior to construction and placed in a local bank.
Petition projects are done through the County Commissioners and all the survey and designs are completed by the County Engineer’s office. The group is responsible for all costs in plan preparation, survey and design, even if the project is dismissed.
Conservation Works of Improvement (CWI)
Senate Bill 160 (940.19 ORC) projects are unique in their own way. There is no charge for the development of plans, survey or design. The plans are prepared and presented to the group for consideration by the local Soil and Water District. The Board of Supervisors of the local Soil and Water District hold the hearings with the group, trying to implement the wishes of the group and make the recommendation to the County Commissioners.