For Immediate Release: Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012
For More Information: Jim Feeney or Mike Perkovich, 773-4216
PIERRE, S.D. - Gov. Dennis Daugaard says the state Board of Water and Natural Resources has approved a $16 million low-interest loan to the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority to construct a regional wastewater treatment system.
The financing comes from the state Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which provides low-interest loans for wastewater, storm water, and non-point-source pollution abatement projects.
The board had earlier awarded $1 million in grant funds for the Ellsworth Development Authority to contract for the design of the regional wastewater treatment facility.
“The low-interest loan will help the Authority construct a much-needed regional wastewater treatment system to meet the needs of Ellsworth Air Force Base and the nearby community of Box Elder,” the Governor said. “Combining these neighboring entities for regional wastewater treatment makes sound economic sense and is good for the environment.”
The Governor has made Ellsworth Air Force Base’s long-term viability a top priority. The state’s continued partnership with the Authority, the Ellsworth Task Force and others to complete projects like the regional wastewater treatment plant will help ensure Ellsworth remains a valuable asset to both the U.S. military and the state.
Existing wastewater treatment facilities at Ellsworth Air Force Base and Box Elder need upgrades to comply with surface-water discharge standards. According to a feasibility study, constructing the regional wastewater system will save about $8 million when comparing the life-cycle cost of the regional facility to constructing and operating two separate systems.
The project involves constructing a wastewater treatment plant immediately northwest of Box Elder’s lagoons. The plant will be sized to provide for future growth in the area. The loan will cover the total estimated cost of the treatment facility.
The South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority was created by the 2009 Legislature to protect and promote the economic impact of Ellsworth Air Force Base and associated industry, and to promote the health and safety of those living or working near the base.
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For Immediate Release: Friday, August 3, 2012
For More Information: Patrick Snyder, 773-3351
PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) investigation indicates low flows, high water temperatures, and elevated ammonia levels contributed to a fish kill that occurred recently in the Big Sioux River.
The investigation measured ammonia levels in the river that met water quality standards and would not normally be toxic to fish. But with the fish already stressed by low flows and high water temperatures even these levels became detrimental to the fish.
Big Sioux River water temperatures were 90 degrees last Friday, 72-78 degrees after a Saturday morning rain, and back up to 90 degrees by Tuesday. River flows, which normally average 250 cubic feet per second (cfs), had dropped to as low as 28 cfs last Friday and parts of the river had only a few inches of water.
After the fish kill was reported on July 27, DENR had water quality staff sampling the river from above the diversion canal to Brandon on both Saturday and Sunday. More on-site sampling was done on Monday and Tuesday.
DENR investigators reviewed permitted discharge records from John Morrell because it is located immediately upstream from the area of the fish kill. Although ammonia levels in John Morrell's discharge rose last week due to the warm temperatures impacting its wastewater treatment plant, ammonia levels in the treated wastewater were still within the water quality standards specified in the plant's surface water discharge permit. No violations were noted. Wastewater staff from John Morrell cooperated fully with the investigation.
"We want to thank those who promptly reported this fish kill as that allowed DENR to get on-site quickly to document water quality conditions," said DENR Secretary Steve Pirner. "Because South Dakota is a prairie state and subject to drought, aquatic systems become stressed when river flows become low and water temperatures are high. Other factors such as water quality can compound those stress levels, so DENR must remain diligent to ensure water pollution controls remain in compliance."
Staff from the City of Sioux Falls and the Department of Game, Fish and Parks, and SDSU have also aided with the investigation.
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