Archived Story

Tiling maestro

Published 10:12am Thursday, October 31, 2013

MANCHESTER — Controlling the flow of water is more complicated than one might think, but for Phillip Morreim, it’s all he knows.

Morreim is the owner of Morreim Drainage, which has been in business since 1968 and is located just north of Manchester. The business started under the name Farm Drainage Service.

The company runs one crew of five people using multiple machines. The company does field tiling, septic systems, waterways and terraces. Morreim said he likes to think of the company as water management specialists, because all of the services the company offers having to do with controlling water flow.

“We kind of like to look at ourselves as water managers,” Morreim said. “What we’re doing is removing the excess water that the plants can’t use and allowing air to get into those pores in the soil so that the root depth can go down deeper.”

Morreim said the company was especially busy doing tiling this season because a lot of the crops didn’t get planted this season, meaning that it was good timing to put the tile in because the fields were open. A tiled field can lead to a yield increase anywhere from 20 to 60 bushels per acre, and it’s a lasting product.

“Once the drainage is in it’s going to be good for a while,” Morreim said. “There’s tile in the ground today that’s 100 years old.”

Morreim got into the industry in 1953 when he was a conservation technician that surveyed tiles, waterways and terraces. He also designed ditches. After leaving that job he started doing survey work for private contractors, which soon led to the creation of the company. He said that he’s seen a lot of changes during his career.

“It’s pretty much done with satellites and GPS,” Morreim said. “At one time, in the beginning, we had to set targets to sight and then there was a leveling arm coming out from the machine and then the operator had to have a real skilled eye to keep that on grade.”

Modern technologies have allowed Morreim Drainage to go from having to have 18 people on the crew to the present five, while increasing output.

“The information comes to the survey unit and the survey unit then picks up the information from the satellites and shows exactly where all the existing lines are,” Morreim said. “And then from that you can determine where to put the new lines in and all of that is all recorded onto a drive. So that information is on there so that the operator on the machine can just plug that into that unit and it comes up on his screen.”

The present way of doing things has also sped things up.

“In two hours he can do as much work as it took me 12 hours to do before we got this new system,” Morreim said.


Morreim Drainage
71610 263rd St.
Albert Lea