Dawn Rye | Writer
During the Turner County commissioner’s meeting last week, concerns were addressed with Knodel Contractors dumping pit water into a drainage ditch. Landowners and Kelly Knodel clarified the drainage concerns after last week’s meeting.
Don Boyd, a landowner in Middleton Township, said he contacted the DENR (Department of Environment of Natural Resources) and they informed him Knodel Contractors does in fact have a temporary permit to dump water. The permit was granted to Knodel in April. Boyd explained previous to this, he was informed that Knodel didn’t have a permit.
Farmer Darren Ihnen explained Knodel is dewatering, mean he is dumping water into his slough that directly feeds a drainage ditch. Where the ditch ends, water is dumping into the Vermillion River north of Davis. He said due to the high water table and constant pumping, the ditch remains higher than normal. He noted it is affecting approximately 200 acres of his land and figures it would take a month for the water to drop in order to farm the ground again.
“My opinion is if he wants to mine gravel that deep why doesn’t he get a dragline or a long arm track hoe instead of dumping the water on us,” commented Ihnen.
In Ihnen’s opinion, he believes that when other farmers approached Knodel, he was not very cooperative about discussing the matter.
Ihnen said that farmers are not against Knodel mining; they wish the water was diverted to the Vermillion River.
Knodel Contractors’ owner said he is not dumping water into the fields; rather it is going into a drainage ditch. He explained to Commissioner Tony Ciampa if any landowners have concerns he urges them to address the issues directly to him. Knodel added there have been no landowners that have contacted him.
He commented he told Ciampa in a text message on Friday, May 1 at 3:28 p.m. “Have them call me so we can take a look at it. We checked a mile south and saw no effect from the road on the north or the south side. Have whoever is concerned call me and I will look at their property, thanks.”
Knodel confirmed that he did hold a temporary permit that was issued from DENR in April.
“I think it’s important from a business standpoint that due diligence is attempted by me by instructing Tony that if he had any concerned farmers to come talk to me. So I can look and see if there is actual impact,” commented Knodel.
He noted he checked farmland a mile south of his pit, however, in his survey he didn’t see an impact. He added it doesn’t mean there is not someone that may be impacted that he couldn’t see from that view. Knodel encouraged landowners who have concerns to call his office at 605-925-4595 with the affected legal description and he would be happy to take a look.