Water in Potter Remains a Problem

SANBORN, N.D. – Earlier this month, Barnes County Water Resource District Board member Duane Lettenmaier was removed from the board by the Barnes County Commission for work on a drain that exceeded the original scope of the project.

Potter Township officer David Lettenmaier, Duane’s brother, said the water problem still remains an issue at Tuesday’s county commission meeting. The township officer said a metal detector was used on County Road 11 north of Sanborn where existing culverts were found.

“The problem in my mind started in 1993 with heavy rains in July,” Lettenmaier said. “After that there was a culvert installed way too high... Water runs over the road and it’s a big mess. There’s been enough orange flags in the last 20 years you could make a quilt out of them.”

Lettenmaier said he’s spoken with the commission four times in four years about the problem. Under North Dakota Century Code, county roads cannot be used to hold back water.

“As far as I’m concerned that road is in the middle of a slough-hole,” said commissioner John Froelich. “We’ve got other roads around that are in the middle of a slough-hole, and until the water gets high enough to run out, it’s in the middle of a slough-hole and that’s what’s holding water back. It isn’t the road, it’s the outlet on the slough.”

Froelich said depending on what the State Game and Fish Department and the water board concluded, he would support the installation of another culvert or raising the road.