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SOUTH DAKOTA Department of
Agriculture & Natural Resources

Protecting South Dakota's Tomorrow...Today!
Joe Foss Building
523 E Capitol Ave
Pierre, SD 57501-3182
Contact Us  Field Offices

Inspection, Compliance & Remediation Program

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Brownfields
2. Feedlots
3. Ground Water Discharge Permits
4. SARA Title III
5. Spills or Releases
6. Source Water Protection
7. Storage Tanks
8. Underground Injection
9. Wellhead Protection
 Picture of a PhoneQuestions

1. Brownfields in South Dakota


The concept of the South Dakota's Brownfields Program is to take contaminated or potentially contaminated, underdeveloped, unproductive property and convert it into productive real estate. Brownfield sites are defined as abandoned, idled or underused industrial or commercial properties where redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. (Click here for more information)


2. Under what circumstances do I need to apply for a ground water discharge permit?


Any facility that is designed to intentionally discharge wastes or pollutants that may move directly or indirectly into ground water. Examples of activities and facilities that may need a ground water discharge permit include land application of wastes, waste storage pits, infiltration/percolation lagoons, artificial wetlands, waste storage piles, landfills and dumps, feedlots, mining and milling operations. In addition, concentrated animal feeding operations (1,000 or more animal units) overlying a shallow aquifer must apply for a ground water discharge permit even if they will not be intentionally discharging wastes. (Click here for more information)


3. What is the definition of a shallow aquifer as it pertains to concentrated animal feeding operations?


Answer: 34A-3A-24. Certain animal feeding operations prohibited from locating over shallow aquifer. No concentrated animal feeding operation that includes a number of animals equal to or greater than one thousand animal units may be located over a shallow aquifer unless a groundwater discharge permit has been approved in accordance with chapter 34A-2. For purposes of this section, a shallow aquifer is any aquifer having the following characteristics:


(1) The aquifer is within fifty feet or less below the land surface with fifteen feet or less of continuous, overlying, extremely low permeability geologic material, such as clayey till or shale. Weathered till or highly fractured weathered shale is not an extremely low permeability material for purposes of this section; or


(2) The aquifer is greater than fifty feet but less than one hundred feet below the land surface with thirty feet or less of continuous overlying low to extremely low permeability geologic material that may be a combination of weathered and unweathered till, shale, or till and shale.


This section does not apply to any concentrated animal feeding operation that was operating on or before July 1, 1997. This section does not limit or prohibit the expansion of any concentrated animal feeding operation that was operating on or before July 1, 1997. The provisions of this section do not apply to any county which has officially adopted a comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances pursuant to chapter 11-2 and wellhead protection ordinances pursuant to  7-18-20. (Click here for more information)


4. Why are SARA Title III regulations important?


In 1986, Congress passed the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) as a response to the chemical accident in Bhopal, India. This was the incident in which gas escaped from an industrial plant and killed or injured more than 1,000 people. Title III of SARA, also known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, establishes the public's right to know what chemicals are stored in their communities. It also requires state and local governments to establish local committees to identify hazardous materials and to plan for responding to releases of the materials. (Click here for more information)


5. When should I report a release or spill?


If there has been a discharge (release or spill) of greater than 25 gallons of a regulated substance (i.e. substances listed in ARSD 74:34:01:03, including but not limited to gasoline, solvents and pesticides), it must be reported. It must also be reported if the spill or release is less than 25 gallons but is either a federally reportable substance (found in EPA's "List of Lists") or may have the potential to contaminate waters of the state. DENR recommends that any spill be reported to both the National Response Center and DENR, if there is uncertainty. DENR will check the federal lists, and if necessary, assist you in filing any federally required spill reports.


The spill or release can be reported at the phone number listed below during business hours or by contacting (605) 773-3231 during non-business hours. The after hour phone number is State Radio and they will contact the appropriate individuals in the event of a release or spill. (Click here for more information)


6. What is Source Water Assessment and Protection?

Most drinking water systems in South Dakota depend on ground water for their source of drinking water. However, there are other public drinking water systems that depend on surface water supplies such as lakes and streams for their drinking water. In either case, it is likely that the drinking water system is using that source because there is not another reliable, high quality source of water available or the cost for the other source is prohibitive. Therefore, to protect the future of our state, it is important to protect our water supplies from potential contaminant sources.


The federal 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act's "Source Water Assessment and Protection Program" utilizes pollution prevention measures that focus on protecting the area surrounding a public drinking water supply. This program requires each state to identify existing and potential pollution sources that may impact the quality of public drinking water supplies. The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources is coordinating this effort for our state.


Source Water Assessments were completed for each of the 760 public drinking water systems operating in South Dakota at the time of initial assessments (2000-2003) . This includes outlining or delineating the part of the watershed or ground water area that contributes water to the water supply; identifying the potential sources of pollution in those areas; and determining the susceptibility of the water supply to these pollution sources. Local communities, working in cooperation with state agencies, can use the information gathered through the assessment process to address current problems and prevent future problems to the quality of their drinking water supplies. (Click here for more information)


7. Why are storage tank regulations important?


When petroleum products, such as gasoline and diesel, leak into the ground, they can cause a variety of problems. If petroleum gets into groundwater, that water can become unusable for drinking or stock watering. Just one gallon of a petroleum product can pollute one million gallons of water. Even groundwater not used to supply drinking water needs is of concern because petroleum products can be carried by the groundwater and may impact subsurface utilities or basements.


To help prevent future contamination and effectively deal with already contaminated sites, Congress established standards for underground storage tanks in 1987. In South Dakota, this federal program is administered by the department. The department has included aboveground storage tanks in its regulations due to the fact they have a potential to leak as well.


7a. What statutes and regulations apply if I have a facility with a regulated storage tank?


The storage tank statutes are found in South Dakota Codified Laws Chapter 34A-2-98, Chapter 34A-2-99, Chapter 34A-2-100, and Chapter 34A-2-101. These statutes authorize the department to develop and implement a regulatory program for storage tanks to ensure protection of human health and the environment. The statutes also define the scope of the program. The regulations outlining the requirements for storage tanks were contained in the Administrative Rules of South Dakota 74:03:28, 29 and 30, but have been recodified by the Legislative Research Council to ARSD 74:56:01 and ARSD 74:56:03.


7b. Do I need to notify you that I have a storage tank?


If you own or operate a facility that has a storage tank which contains a regulated substance, such as petroleum, you must register the tank with the department. Certain types of tanks, such as heating oil tanks, are exempt from regulation. If you own a storage tank and are not sure if it is regulated, please contact the department. (Click here for more information)


8. Do I need to notify you if I operate an injection well?


If you operate any type of injection well, you need to notify this department. Notification is not necessary for septic systems used for domestic sewage, unless the system handles more than 20 people. (Click here for more information)


9. What is Wellhead Protection?


Having good quality, safe drinking water at a reasonable cost is something that most people take for granted, especially if their water comes from a public water supply system. To ensure that the water supply is safe, and to avoid costly treatment or relocation of their supply, the local community must be aware of the activities that could adversely impact their water source. One program designed to help communities address potential sources of contamination of their ground water is called wellhead protection. Wellhead protection involves the protection of ground water supplies by eliminating or controlling sources of pollution to the surface and sub-surface area surrounding a water well or wellfield.


The program emphasis is to delineate a "wellhead protection area" that defines the land area which contributes water to a well. This is the specific surface area the local community will choose to "protect". All potential contaminant sources are identified in the wellhead protection area. A partnership of private property owners, community representatives, government agencies and the public can work together to develop a management plan to minimize the risk of contamination from these sources.


A complete wellhead protection program also includes preparing contingency plans for water supply emergencies and developing new wellfield sites for future expansion or replacement of an existing wellfield should it be necessary. No wellhead protection program is complete without public input to guarantee an acceptable and effective wellhead protection program. (Click here for more information)


For more information call the Ground Water Quality Program at 605 773-3296 or e-mail