Ditches are constructed to drain water from the land, especially during or
immediately after times of heavy rain or melting snow. Drainage is very
important for agriculture in this watershed and the soils indicate the need for
drainage. In the Darby watershed, 76.2% are rated very poorly drained,
poorly drained or somewhat poorly drained. 61.3% of soils are classified
as being hydric soils. Soils classified as "prime if drained" account for
72.0% of all soils.
The Drainage Maintenance Program is a cooperative effort between the
County Engineer, the
Soil & Water Conservation District, and the
County Commissioners. Ultimately
the County Commissioners are responsible for the maintenance and assessments for
the county maintained ditches. There are currently 41.2 miles of county maintained ditches in the Darby Watershed.
There are two different petition processes in Ohio. Both are authorized by
the Ohio Revised Code(ORC) either ORC
1515 or ORC 6131. Please
contact your local county engineer or
Soil and Water Conservation District for
more information concerning your county's ditch maintenance program.
Not sure if a ditch near you is under maintenance? Please use the
ditch maintenance contacts
Frequently Asked Questions about Drainage?
- What is tile or field tile?
What is the difference between agricultural field tile and a storm sewer?
- Who constructed the ditches?
- Who pays to install a ditch?
What can I do if I have a non-functioning ditch on or affecting my property?
Why is it the landowners' responsibility to pay for drainage maintenance?
- What are
typical drainage maintenance activities?
- What are
anything be planted or built within the easement area?
(These frequently asked questions are based on the frequently asked drainage
question sections on the
Miami County Engineer's and the
Delaware SWCD websites)
What is a tile or field
A tile is a pipe that is underground that is used to convey water. Tile
drainage was first introduced in the United States in 1838. Tiles were
installed in order to lower the water table on agricultural
the difference between agricultural field tile and a storm sewer?
The main difference is their application and size. Field tiles are
designed to drain cropland and facilitate crop production. Field tile is
typically sized to drain 3/8" of water per acre per day from the ground. Storm
sewers are designed to transport storm water (rain water) immediately from the
ground surface to the receiving stream, creek or ditch. In a
agricultural field tile system, ponding water is expected to dry up in a few
days as the water infiltrates into the tiles. Storm sewers, however have
open inlets to allow water directly into the storm sewer system. Storm
sewers pipes must typically be ten or more times larger than field tile.
constructed the ditches?
Many of the tile systems were installed independently by farmers, or a group
of farmers to drain their adjacent cropland. Some of these tile systems
only drain a few acres while other drain a 1000 acres or more. Other
ditches, especially those with a large drainage area which involved many
farmers, the farmers would file a County Ditch petition with the County
Engineer or Soil and Water Conservation District. If the County accepted
the project, property owners were assessed for both construction and
maintenance cost associated with their new "County Ditch" or "County Tile".
pays to install a ditch?
In all cases, the property owners who are benefited by ditch are the
ones who pay for it. In the case of a cooperative agreement between
adjacent property owners, the owners pay the contractor directly. For a
County Ditch, the county pays the contractor and assesses all costs, including
engineering and administrative costs, back to the benefited property owners
through a special assessment on their property taxes.
can I do if I have a non-functioning ditch on or affecting my property?
If the ditch was not originally installed through the County's
petition process, you can:
Fix the problem or hire
someone to fix the problem yourself
Work with adjacent property
owners or hire someone to fix the problem
File a Ditch petition with
your county engineer or
local SWCD office.
If the ditch was
installed through the County petition process after August 23, 1957, a
maintenance fund is in place for this ditch. There is a special
assessment on your property taxes for maintenance and repair of this ditch.
Please contact your local ditch
maintenance person for further assistance.
Why is it the landowners' responsibility to pay for
Under state law, all the land that drains into a ditch or project on a
maintenance program is required to share the maintenance costs associated with
that ditch or project. The drainage maintenance assessment can be
compared to insurance. Maintenance will keep drainage systems
functioning at their designed level, and, should a failure occur, repairs can
What are typical drainage maintenance activities?
Annual inspections (minimum), minor to major structural repairs, outlet
when needed, erosion control, and logjam/obstruction removal
- What are drainage easements?
A drainage easement is an area of a property that is reserved for maintenance activities
only. The size of the easement will
depend on the drainage structure and is set by the County Engineer.
Can anything be planted or built within the easement
It depends. It is always okay to plant grass in an easement area. No
man-made objects such as fencing, buildings, sheds or landscaping should ever
be placed in an easement area. Planting trees in an easement area should
also be avoided. If objects are placed in an easement area, they can be
removed at the landowners cost and not be replaced.
Other Web Resources
- Ohio Drainage Laws- An
the water flows
- Agricultural Water
Table Management Systems
- Agricultural Drainage-
Ohio Field Studies
- Agricultural Drainage
Water Resources by County
- Water Resources of
- Water Resources of
- Logan County Water
- Water Resources of
- Pickaway County
- Union County Water
Champaign County Engineer
428 Beech Street
Urbana, OH 43078
Franklin County Engineer
970 Dublin Road
Columbus, OH 43215-1184
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Logan County Engineer
1991 County Road 13, P.O. Box 427
Bellefontaine, OH 43311
Logan County Engineer's Office
David Brand- Madison County Engineer
Dale Hostetler- Ditch Maintenance Supervisor
825 US 42 NE
London, OH 43140
Phone: Dale Hostetler Cell: (614)546-8932 (Cell)
Email: Dale Hostetler
Lloyd (Mack) McManus
110 Island Rd., Suite D
Circleville, OH 43113
Bob Scheiderer- Ditch Maintenance Supervisor
18000 State Route 4, Suite B
Marysville, OH 43040
Ditch Maintenance page- Union SWCD