What We Do
The goal of the Air Quality Program is to maintain air quality levels in South Dakota that protect human health, safety and welfare and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards established through the Federal Clean Air Act. The department achieves this goal by monitoring the ambient air quality throughout the state, permitting businesses and facilities that emit air pollution, and ensuring compliance with the state laws and rules.
To determine the quality of our air, we conduct ambient air monitoring at potentially high air pollution areas across the state.
Once an air quality problem is identified, it is addressed by the rulemaking process, permitting process, or outside of the regulatory process. We permit minor, Part 70 (Title V), Acid Rain, and PSD sources. There are no nonattainment areas in South Dakota, therefore, we do not issue NSR permits.
A lot of problems are identified from citizen complaints. Air pollution problems from industrial sources can typically be addressed in the facilities permit. The most typical air quality problems and complaints are associated with open burning and fugitive dust.
Open burning is an accepted practice in South Dakota for several purposes. People open burn to eliminate noxious weeds or crop damaging pests/insects in fields, reduce vegetative cover in ditches, improve forest health, to reduce the potential for wildfires, conserve landfill space by burning trees, bushes and leaves, and to dispose of household waste because of lack of waste disposal collection systems in rural areas. State rules prohibit the open burning of certain types of materials (tires, railroad ties, and treated wood), but general authority to impose burn bans is given to counties through law.
South Dakota is located in the high plains that is subject to periods of droughts and high winds. These are the main ingredients for fugitive dust problems. Fugitive dust is identified as dust from mining activity, gravel roads, construction activity, street sanding operations, and wind erosion from agricultural fields. Fugitive dust is the main problem in Rapid City. A Natural Events Action Plan (NEAP) for high winds was developed for Rapid City.
The program answers questions concerning Radon and has a Small Business Assistance program to help new business comply with air quality regulations. Asbestos certifications and notifications are addressed in the Waste Management Program.
Every fall and spring, the program holds Smoke School Certifications (Visual Emission Evaluation Certification). Every other year, a class is held with the course.