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Published May 21, 2010, 03:52 PM

Wilkin County farmers are thrilled over ditch digging project

Wahpeton, ND (WDAY TV) - A ditch cleaning project in Wilkin County has some area farmers thrilled. Officials say water will now flush from fields more quickly, but won't reach places like Fargo any sooner.

Crews just started the 24 mile ditch digging project.

"For us, it's one of the biggest projects we've ever done."

J-A-V bought this huge excavator specifically for this project. With it they're clearing about a half mile a day. The owner says from what he sees, farmers will immediately notice the benefits when the project is completed.

"90 percent of our work is ditch work like this drain clean outs fixing slopes."

Soon the ditches will hold more water by making the bottom of the ditch wider and flattening the slope.

"We try to clean them every 20 to 30 years, and by state law we have to clean the ditches."

Richels says even though water gets to the ditches sooner, it doesn't mean the water goes to the river quicker.

"We're actually think we're going to store water in these ditches and we're going to slow the water down so all will help things further north."

After the soil is piled up, it'll be flattened out by a bulldozer and farmers will use it again, essentially putting it back where it came from.

"When the fields are covered in snow and the water starts to run, it starts eating the snow away and it starts taking the top soil and taking it into the rivers."

Sounds like a win, win. Helping the farmers and supporters of water retention soon will have a mini project working in Wilkin County. Project should take about 50 days.

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