SOUTH DAKOTA Department of
Environment & Natural Resources

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Pierre, SD 57501
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South Dakota DENR

South Dakota Environmental Issues

29th Annual Environmental and Ground Water Quality Conference Set for March 8-9, 2017

The 29th Annual Environmental and Ground Water Quality Conference is scheduled for March 8-9 at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Pierre. The annual conference was started by the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 1989 as a means to periodically inform environmental consultants working in the state of any updates to the regulations. While the conference still performs this function, it has expanded to include professional talks covering the environmental topics of the day and the latest technologies in assessing and remediating soil and ground water. The conference is free and open to the public. For additional information, visit

DENR 2016 Integrated Report Approved by EPA

DENR has received U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval of its 2016 Integrated Report. The biennial report, required under the federal Clean Water Act, is used by the state to identify impaired waterbodies in South Dakota. The report contains an assessment of the surface water quality of South Dakota’s waters, a description of South Dakota’s water quality monitoring programs, pollutants causing impairments of the water bodies and identification of waters targeted for total maximum daily load development. A total maximum daily load (TMDL) is a determination of the amount of pollution a waterbody can receive and still maintain water quality standards. To see the EPA approval letter...

RESPEC to Complete Big Sioux River Basin Hydrologic and Hydraulic Model

RESPEC, a consulting firm out of Rapid City, has been selected to develop a new hydrologic and hydraulic model of the Big Sioux River basin. RESPEC was selected from several consulting firms that submitted proposals for the project. RESPEC began work on the project this fall and will complete the project in late 2018. The project includes creating a hydrologic and hydraulic model of the basin and producing a web-based flood inundation mapping tool. The model will more accurately portray the complex hydrology of the Big Sioux River basin and help local, state and federal officials to better prepare for and respond to flood events.

General Permit for CAFOs Adopted

The contested case hearing to reissue the General Water Pollution Control Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) was held Sept. 27-29 in Pierre. After 2 1/2 days of testimony, Secretary Steve Pirner, acting as hearing chairman, approved revisions and adopted the general permit. The permit will now take effect 30 days after it has been signed by the Secretary, who cannot sign it until after attorneys have completed findings of fact and conclusions of law. Representing the Feedlot Permit Program, the Office of Attorney General submitted the first set of draft Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law – 39 pages, 244 findings, and 20 conclusions – on Nov. 21. The other parties, to include Dakota Rural Action, had 30 days to submit their objections and findings, but due to the workload that is contemplated for locating the Agency's proposed facts in the record, Dakota Rural Action requested a 45-day extension. The 45-day extension with a deadline of Feb. 4, 2017, was granted by Hearing Examiner Catherine Duenwald on Dec. 12, 2016. For audio recordings of the hearing and the adopted version of the general permit…

DENR's Interactive Database Maps

GalleryDENR has several interactive database maps on its GIS Interactive Map Dashboard at The interactive maps show oil and gas permits and wells, water well completion reports, licensed well drillers, licensed pump installers, water level readings for measured observation wells, historic lake elevation readings and outlets for measured lakes, permitted solid waste facilities, dry draw location notices, documented spill sites, regulated above and below ground storage tanks, recycling facilities and construction aggregate sites.

DENR Cancels Clean Power Plan Public Input Meetings

On Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, the U. S. Supreme Court issued a stay in EPA's Clean Power Plan that halts or postpones the effectiveness of EPA’s Plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power plants. With the stay in place, DENR cancelled public input meetings scheduled to fulfill EPA’s public participation requirements. For more…

Missouri River Issue

South Dakota's interests in the Missouri River are in jeopardy. A draft US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) "surplus water report" threatens South Dakota's interests in at least two major ways. First, the Corps wants to determine whether water is available from the Missouri River to satisfy certain types of uses as well as existing water uses from the mainstem reservoirs. Secondly, the Corps also plans to start charging a fee to certain water users above the mainstem reservoirs. For more…