Putnam County Seal - Putnam Sentinel

PUTNAM COUNTY — All petition ditches are inspected annually by the Putnam County Engineer Drainage Department. To better maintain the petition ditches under maintenance, the Putnam County Engineer will begin spraying petition ditches located in the east half of the county in even numbered years, and petition ditches located in the west half of the county in odd numbered years. With 2019 being an odd numbered year, the west half of the county will be sprayed this year.

“Ditch spraying is a low-cost way to provide vegetative control of unwanted brush and weeds along the ditch,” Putnam County Engineer Michael Lenhart says when asked about the importance of the spray program. “This helps reduce long-term costs for the landowners since brush removal can be very expensive.”

It is equally important for property owners along the county’s ditches to know about the ditch spraying program, as Mr. Lenhart points out, “By keeping the landowners and farmers informed of the ditch spraying schedule, it will allow them to know if they see someone driving along the ditch that it is not someone trespassing on their property,” he says. “Since we need the brush to be out in full foliage to be most effective, it also informs them that during the crop growing season, our contractor we will be spraying along the ditch.”

Petition ditches have an easement along the top of the bank to be utilized by contractors for any maintenance work. Crops planted inside this easement will be subject to damage without compensation. Farmers are advised to please plan accordingly. Location maps for the townships in the west half of the county (to be sprayed this year) are available online at: https://www.putnamcountyohio.gov/ElectedOfficials/Engineer/DitchDepartment.aspx.

The approximate start date for the ditch spraying program is this upcoming Monday, May 20, 2019. The anticipated completion date is August 15, 2019, weather permitting.

Spraying is not the only maintenance work the engineer’s office conducts along the county’s maintenance ditches. Between fall of 2018 and spring of 2019, $191,709.81 was spent on 11 ditches for maintenance that included dip out work, bank work, reconstruction and other cleanout work, and a 12th is under contract. Additionally, six new maintenance ditches were petitioned during the same time period, resulting in $185,468 spent to open those ditches and on tile projects. Combined, work on new ditches and maintenance on current ditches involved hiring and managing 11 separate contractors.

Though managed by the county, all new ditch and maintenance work conducted on the county’s petition maintenance ditches is billed to the parcel owners whose properties drain into those ditches.