EPA approves DENR water quality report

EPA approves DENR water quality report South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Steve Pirner has announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the state's biennial report on surface water quality in the state.

"Overall, the report shows that permitted dischargers, such as municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants, are doing an excellent job and are protecting water quality in South Dakota," said Pirner. "However, the report also shows we still need to abate nonpoint source pollution in many of our watersheds to reduce sediment and fecal coliform bacteria in our rivers and phosphorus and nitrogen in our lakes."

In the approval letter, EPA commended the state for its thorough public participation process used during development of the report.

The 227-page 2004 Integrated Report for Surface Water Quality Assessment combines for the first time two reports required under the federal Clean Water Act. The two reports are the 303(d) Total Maximum Daily Load list and the 305(b) Water Quality Report. EPA approves only the total maximum daily load portion of the combined report.

The 2004 report identifies 164 waterbodies or waterbody segments needing a total maximum daily load. That number is down from 167 waterbodies listed in the 2002 report. A total maximum daily load is a determination of the amount of pollution a waterbody can receive and still maintain water quality standards.

Pollutant reductions to meet total maximum daily loads can be achieved through many different ways, depending on the type and source of pollutants. For example, if the pollutant is discharged from a wastewater treatment plant, DENR can place enforceable pollutant limits in the plant's surface water discharge permit. If the pollutant comes from nonpoint sources and is carried off by runoff, DENR can help conservation districts or other local watershed project sponsors seek cost share funding to help landowners install best management practices that will reduce the pollutant in runoff.

Since the last biennial total maximum daily load list was developed in 2002, DENR has completed 39 total maximum daily loads and has another 84 in progress.

The report is available on the Internet at www.state. sd.us/denr/Documents/041RFinal.pdf.

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