SOUTH DAKOTA Department of
Environment & Natural Resources

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Water Rights

Steps to complete a soil/water analysis

1. WATER QUALITY: A water sample may not be needed since the quality of some water sources is well documented. Please contact the Water Resources Institute, Brookings, SD at (605) 688-4910 if you have sampling questions. The following procedure should be used to collect a water sample:

    a) Use a pint or quart jar which can be cleaned with a brush or dish cloth. Do not use gallon containers, metal containers, or containers with metal lids. Bottles used for bleach, fabric softener, detergents, and shampoos make very good sample bottles, but are difficult to get clean.

    b) Wash the container with hot, soapy water and rinse in boiling water (some containers may require washing with hot vinegar to remove foreign residues).

    c) Rinse the container vigorously three times with the water to be sampled. If the container doesn’t look clean, don’t use it.

    d) Allow enough time for pumping a well to insure "fresh" ground water, instead of "drill water and mud" or stagnant water. It is common for water quality to improve with extended pumping (up to six hours of pumping a new well is recommended).

    e) When taking surface water samples, obtain the water far enough from the shore to avoid excessive soil and algae. Samples from different depths should be combined into one sample.

    f) Try to get the water sample to the laboratory as soon as possible. Time affects water quality.

2. SOILS INFORMATION: The Natural Resources Conservation Service or the local Conservation District may be contacted to obtain a soils map. The area to be irrigated should be outlined on the soils map. If the county soil survey is not completed, then the Natural Resources Conservation Service or a professional soil classifier may be able to provide the information.

3. COMPLETION OF THE SOIL/WATER ANALYSIS: The water sample and soils map can be sent to the "Water Quality Laboratory, Water Resources Institute, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007" for preparation of a soil/water compatibility analysis. The fee for this analysis is $50.00. Be sure to place your name and address on BOTH the water sample and soils map and list the crops to be irrigated.

A soil/water analysis may also be completed by contracting with any other qualified water quality lab and having a qualified person perform the analysis.

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