2024 Drainage Workshop: Contemporary design concepts to increase profit

Register by Feb. 1 for a 30% discount for early registration at the 2024 Drainage Workshop.

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Photo by Ehsan Ghane, MSU.

Join Michigan State University Extension in partnership with the Michigan Land Improvement Contractors of America on Feb. 27-29, 2024, for the 2024 Drainage Workshop in East Lansing, Michigan. Learn from university specialists and drainage industry professionals.

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 helps me connect with my customers better. When I have a better understanding of what they do.”
  • 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.”

View photos of the 2023 drainage workshop.

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 in making contour maps with the free QGIS software and exporting the contours to your GPS design and machine software. Third, we offer a demonstration of drainage design software. Fourth, we offer a live demonstration of properly connecting a lateral to a main pipe.

A proper pipe connection in a field near a road.
Live demonstration of proper pipe connection. Photo by Ehsan Ghane, MSU.

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 versus knitted-sock pipe?
  • 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 and safety.
  • Controlled drainage design.
  • Conservation drainage: controlled drainage, saturated buffer, blind inlet and shallow drains.
  • Making contours with QGIS free software and exporting data.
  • Demonstration of drainage design software.


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

Register and download agenda

Contact ghane@msu.edu for any questions.

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