Sioux Center waterway is being cleared

This water runoff ditch west of Second Avenue Northeast in Sioux Center has been cleared of debris, though dirt piles remain.

SIOUX CENTER—Sioux Center is following up on concerns about silt and debris build up in the water runoff ditch that runs behind properties from west of Second Avenue Northeast to Seventh Avenue Northeast, north of the Sioux Center Middle School and High School facility.

Several people from that neighborhood came to a Sioux Center City Council meeting Sept. 23 to bring the issue to their attention.

There, they told the council members that debris and silt had built up in the water runoff ditch behind their properties, preventing the water from flowing as it was intended, resulting in drainage issues and fears of flooding.

Sioux Center utilities manager Murray Hulstein said the ditch serves an important purpose, to move water at such a pace as to minimize flooding downstream.

“These are actually detention basins for that whole subdivision, so that’s why the city’s doing this,” Hulstein said.

Work to clean up the runoff ditch began about two weeks ago, though the project has been suspended on account of the warm weather.

As Hulstein noted, going in to remove cleared out debris and dirt with heavy equipment while the ground is thawing would mean creating bigger ruts from the wheels, further harming the grass there, and risk getting stuck.

So far, a segment of the runoff ditch from Second Avenue Northeast to Fourth Avenue Northeast has been cleaned of debris, though piles of dirt along the ditch’s edge remain behind.

Hulstein said that those dirt piles will be removed as soon as conditions improve enough for the trucks to access them.