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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

Surface Water

Bypasses/Unauthorized Discharges

Definitions and Examples

A bypass is defined in the Surface Water Discharge permit as "the intentional diversion of waste streams from any portion of a treatment facility." There can be many different situations that may call for a bypass of a certain part of a wastewater treatment facility. An example of a bypass is when lift stations pumps are unable to keep up with a high amount of flow during storms. Sometimes operators find themselves having to obtain separate pumps and pump water out of the lift station and into a pond. This is considered a bypass. If a valve between two ponds is broke and cannot be opened and the water has to be pumped over the dike and into another pond, this is also considered a bypass. A bypass is considered to be partially treated wastewater.

An unauthorized discharge is defined as "the discharge of water from the lower end of the treatment or containment system through a release structure or over or through retention dikes." An example of an unauthorized discharge is if wastewater is discharged without the operator’s knowledge either through the outfall, over the dike, or through the dike (via a hole or other opening). Permission to Discharge (PTD) facilities must get permission from the department before a discharge can occur. If this type of facility finds that it has to perform a discharge in order to prevent severe property damage, but cannot get permission due to high levels of effluent parameters (TSS, BOD5, pH, ammonia, etc.), this would be considered an unauthorized discharge. An unauthorized discharge is considered to be treated wastewater.

Any time a manhole or a lift station overflows into a street or the surrounding area, it is considered to be a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO). Sanitary sewer overflows are essentially untreated wastewater (raw sewage).

All bypasses, unauthorized discharges, and SSOs must be reported to SDDENR as soon as possible. The procedure to follow if any of these occur is outlined below.

Procedure for Bypasses, Unauthorized Releases, or SSOs

As stated above, all of these must be reported to SDDENR within 24 hours of the occurrence. Here is a list of the procedures to follow:

Notify the SD DENR via telephone (at (605) 773-3351) as soon as possible (within 24 hours of the occurrence)! DO NOT notify the department via e-mail.

If the situation is an unauthorized discharge or an SSO, take at least 3 samples (if possible). Bypasses do not have to be sampled unless specified by SDDENR personnel. If you are a "No Discharge" facility, sample kits should be kept on site for this purpose. However, if you do not have sample kits, samples for BOD5, Total Suspended Solids, and pH can be taken by using a clean, empty distilled water bottle.

Send the samples to the laboratory as soon as possible (within 24 hours). Remember to use ice as a preservative.

Send a written explanation to SDDENR that includes the date and time of occurrence, if samples were taken and sample results if they were, why the event occurred, and the date and time when it ended. SDDENR personnel will remind you of this when you call to report the situation. This needs to be done as soon as sample results are received.

"No Discharge" facilities need to make a copy of the last page of their permit (the Unauthorized Release form), complete it, and send it to SDDENR as soon as possible.

Send a copy of sample results and the written explanation (be sure to include the facility name and permit number) to the department at the following address:

Surface Water Quality Program
Joe Foss Building
523 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501-3181
(605) 773-3351

Unauthorized Discharge Log (for facility records)

Location of the Unauthorized Discharge:  
Date/Time the Unauthorized Discharge Started (estimated):  
Date/Time the City Became Aware of Discharge:  
Date/Time the DENR was Notified of Discharge:  
Estimated Flow Rate of the Discharge:  
Method of Estimate:  
Action taken to prevent or reduce public contact with wastestream:  
Date/Time the discharge samples were taken:




Action Taken to Mitigate the Unauthorized Discharge by Reducing Volume or Duration:  
Additional Resources used to reduce, divert, or stop the unauthorized discharge:  
Was the Health Department Notified (if necessary): yes or no  
Was the wastestream or residue disinfected: yes or no  
Date/Time the Unauthorized Discharge stopped: