Highway department aims to reduce stormwater runoff issues from gravel pit to local river
Bring on the rain.
For the first time in about a decade, the Cook County Highway Department is confident that stormwater runoff will no longer be a problem at the Maple Hill gravel pit where it collects clay and rock to apply to local roadways.
The county has been collecting from the 40-acre parcel of land near the Maple Hill Cemetery for the last four decades. For the past ten years, or possibly longer, drainage issues have plagued the gravel pit. Stormwater runoff from the pit has led to high volumes of sediment flowing from the pit via a small creek that feeds into the Little Devil Track River.
In 2013, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency intervened, guiding (and fining) the county toward a mitigation plan to reduce the negative impact the outflow was having on the watershed. Various attempts to address the situation were made over the years, but the recent undertaking to improve runoff from the site goes far beyond any previous efforts, according to Highway Engineer Robbie Hass.
The Maple Hill pit is important for the local highway department because it is rich in clay, according to Josh Dix from the Cook County Highway Department. The clay is used as a binder for loose gravel on local roads, he added. In the coming years, the pit will continue to be used to collect gravel and clay, ultimately serving as a processing site for local gravel that will be applied to local roads.
WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs recently visited the Maple Hill gravel pit and shares more in the audio below.