2024 Drainage Workshop

Feb. 27-29, 2024

524 S Shaw Ln.
East Lansing, MI 48824
Farrall Ag Eng Hall, Room 106

Michigan's 2024 Drainage Workshop will be held in East Lansing. This workshop is a collaboration between Michigan State University and Michigan Land Improvements Contractors of America.

For photos of the 2023 Drainage Workshop, click here.

1 - Impact of workshop:
Quotes from a ONE-YEAR follow-up survey of former attendees

  • It helped me better size outlets and spacing, saved me time with summer tile installation and gave me confidence that I was doing the right thing on my farm”.
  • Helped me make the choice of tiling myself or sub-contracting”.
  • It has helped me evaluate fields for planting. I do hay and I need to understand the wet areas”.
  • Assisted me with helping landowners improve their drainage in a residential setting”.
  • It helped me connect with my customers better”.
  • A drainage contractor attendee who had also attended another drainage school, had this to say: “… [the Michigan workshop] covers all of the necessary info needed to understand drainage installation”.

2 - Why
should you attend the drainage workshop?

First, we offer a modern and straightforward approach to drainage design with user-friendly online tools and hands-on exercises.

Second, we offer training to make contour maps with the QGIS free user-friendly software, and exporting the contours to your GPS design and machine software.

Third, we have a demonstration of drainage design software. Will Word will demonstrate Global Mapper software as an aid in drainage design. Nate Cooke will present design and AGPS machine-control software.

Fourth, we offer a live demonstration of properly connecting a lateral to a main pipe (see photos here).

3 - What will you learn?

The drainage design process will include basic design considerations and a step-by-step design procedure. Other topics include

  • Soils and water movement in soils
  • Surface drainage (shallow ditches and grassed waterways)
  • Subsurface drainage principles and economics
  • Selection of pipe style: 4-row or 8-row pipe? Sand-slot vs knitted-sock pipe?
  • Making contour maps with QGIS free user-friendly software
  • Design procedure (a step-by-step guide to design)
  • Legal considerations of drainage
  • Drain Spacing Tool to maximize profit
  • Determining if drain sedimentation is a problem
  • Properly sizing the main pipe to avoid drainage underperformance
  • Determining if upsizing of the existing main is necessary when splitting lateral spacing
  • Determining the Original Drainage Coefficient Used to Size the Main of an Existing System
  • Installation tips and safety
  • Controlled drainage design
  • Conservation drainage: Controlled drainage, saturated buffer, blind inlet, and shallow drains
  • Demonstration of drainage design software

4 - General Notes:
University faculty members, and experienced contractors with Michigan Land Improvement Contractors of America (MLICA).

Event provides:
We will provide notepads, ruler, pens, and mechanical pencil for each participant. We will provide a desktop computer for each participant to use during the workshop.

What to bring: 
Please bring your calculator, if you have one. Otherwise, you can use the Calculator app on the Windows 10 of the desktop computer that we will provide.

Food: We will offer a continental breakfast as well as a lunch buffet (meat and vegetarian).

Parking: There will be free parking in lot 39 on MSU campus. Click here to go to the free parking.

Class Location: 524 S. Shaw Lane. Click here to go to the class location.

: Participants are responsible for making their own hotel arrangements.

Register early for a 30% discounted price of $210 by 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 1, 2024. Normal registration price will be $300 starting from Feb. 2, 2024. Registration deadline is 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 23, 2024. This workshop is limited to 20 participants, and on-site registration will be unavailable on the day of the event. Registration fee covers breakfast and lunch. The food will be catered by local restaurants.

Registration cancellation: Full refund will be provided, if canceled by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. A $50 service fee will be charged to the refund, if canceled between Feb. 20 through Feb. 23, 2024. No refund will be provided, if canceled on or after Feb. 24, 2024.

Special Request: 
Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by calling Ehsan Ghane at 517-353-4458 by Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET to ensure sufficient time to make arrangements. MSU is an affirmative-action and equal-opportunity employer.

For workshop agenda with list of speakers, click on the Tentative Workshop Agenda link below.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For questions, contact Ehsan Ghane at 517-353-4458 or ghane@msu.edu.