Skip to main content

Updated Minnesota Public Drainage Manual

  Home  »  Recent News »  
Updated Minnesota Public Drainage Manual

Minnesota Public Drainage Manual Twenty-five years after its original publication, the Minnesota Public Drainage Manual (MPDM) has been updated and published in a wiki site format on the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) website. HEI's team led the update to this manual and the creation of the wiki site, which eases access for users to find periodic updates. 


How It Began

The project began with stakeholder focus groups around Minnesota to develop an understanding of how the old manual was being utilized, how it could be improved to meet today’s user’s needs, and to gain insights from practitioners on forms and tools that they were using to better manage their systems. These stakeholder focus groups provided valuable information to the team on what was needed to assure the updated manual would provide the greatest value to the users.

The decision to provide the manual in a wiki site format was a result from the focus groups' desire to have the manual in an easy-to-use electronic format that allowed for instant updates to information for users to access immediately.

What is a wiki site? It's a website that allows for collaborative editing of its content and structure by its users, an example is Wikipedia. Fun fact: wiki is Hawaiian for "quick."
Focus group exploring needs for updated drainage manual

New and Improved 

The new manual content was improved and formatted to address many items that have changed since the original manual was published in 1991.
  • The updated language provides an enhanced understanding of the regulatory environment that has evolved and will continue to require greater coordination by all parties into the future.
  • An enhanced description of the legal framework provided in statute and in court decisions that have shaped the present understanding of the roles, rights, and obligations within the management of public systems was also included to provide additional detail and references for manual users.
  • A new chapter was added that provides Best Management Practice (BMP) approaches for managing water volume and water quality concerns within drainage systems. 

Drainage Manual Wiki Website

The Team 

The HEI team included Erik Jones, PE, (author of Chapter 5: Public Drainage Systems Best Management Practices), Chris Otterness, PE, (author of Chapter 3: Engineering and Environmental Considerations), Suzy Lindberg (wiki technical writer) and Larry Kramka (project manager and lead editor). 

“This truly was a team effort by the authors and supporting staff at HEI and Rinke Noonan,” said Kramka. “Both teams worked tirelessly to ensure that the manual provides the best available, most reliable and accurate information on the management of the public drainage systems in Minnesota.” 

Managing the diversity of comments and perspectives of the various stakeholders, while delivering a manual that respects the integrity of all parties in the drainage process was job one.

“I am proud of the work HEI and Rinke Noonan did to deliver this next generation resource” Kramka added, “and happy to have been able to work with this team and the BWSR staff in delivering it to the public.” 

HEI's expertise in public drainage system management, engineering, and innovative management solutions made for a natural fit for leading and managing this project. We are proud to have been part of this historic update to the manual.


If you have questions about your next project visit the online manual. If you need additional help, call one of our experts. We’re happy to help your project succeed.