Victoria Wicks file photo

South Dakota Water Management Board is hearing three more days of arguments for and against water use for the Keystone XL pipeline project. Those hearings start Tuesday, Oct. 29, in Pierre.

Permit requests come from TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, and from landowners who will host pipe yards and worker camps.

Two days of hearings have already been held earlier this month. This second round is scheduled to last through Thursday.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Opponents to the Keystone XL pipeline are asking for more information before South Dakota Water permits are granted for pipeline construction. Opposing parties want the Water Management Board to compel discovery from pipeline parent company TC Energy Corporation, previously known as TransCanada. These issues were the subject of a hearing held Wednesday, May 8, in Pierre to determine rules and scheduling for future hearings.

Natural Resources Conservation Service South Dakota

Officials with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources say they’re getting an increased number of calls from feedlot producers about how to handle spreading manure on fields this year.

The short window for applying that manure on fields could leave some producers without a choice but to violate their permit.

South Dakota and surrounding states got significant rainfall this autumn, delaying harvest for some farmers. That delay and cold weather shortly thereafter left a lot of farm ground frozen and not ideal for manure application.

Pollution And Recreation On The Big Sioux

Jul 11, 2016
Water testing
Erin Mairose

Water testing on the Big Sioux River shows high levels of bacteria and pollution in some areas. The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources recommends only having limited contact with the water, meaning they don’t suggest swimming in it.

But the city of Sioux Falls continues to build parks and recreation areas along the river, in the effort to foster economic development.

New Law Requires Gates For Paddlers

Jun 24, 2016
Big Sioux, Kayaking, Water
Erin Mairose

Navigable streams and rivers in South Dakota used for kayaking, canoeing, and snowmobiling are considered public highways. But landowners with livestock often put fences across the water. The fences can pose major safety hazards to those paddling or traveling downstream.  To allow access through fenced off portions of streams, a law going into effect July 1st compiles a list of streams requiring gates

Onida Ethanol Plant Construction Delayed

Jun 2, 2016

A 140-million dollar ethanol plant near the town of Onida is on hold.  Officials with the company Ringneck Energy say they are awaiting an air quality permit from the state.  

Officials with Ringneck Energy say the construction of the ethanol plant near Onida, South Dakota, is at a standstill due to legal and financial obstacles. Walter Wendland is with the company.  He says construction is delayed until at least fall. The project was originally intended to begin this spring with full operations next year.

DENR Report: 143 Impaired Water Bodies In SD

May 4, 2016
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A new report by the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources lists 143 of South Dakota's streams, lakes, and rivers as impaired or polluted.

The DENR reports pollution in surface water to the EPA every two years.

Fires Impacting Air Quality

Apr 13, 2016
SD Wildland Fire Division

Smoke from fires in Kansas is impacting air quality in southeast South Dakota.  Brad Schultz is with the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources. He says Wednesday morning air quality was at an unhealthy level in Union County and unhealthy for sensitive groups in the Sioux Falls area.


Now that crews have repaired a leak on the Keystone pipeline, they’re working to clean up the ground contaminated by crude oil. TransCanada shut down the pipeline last week when a local landowner discovered a leak. The company is now pumping oil through the line at reduced pressure.

TransCanada officials are investigating what caused 16,800 gallons of oil to escape the Keystone pipeline and saturate the ground near Freeman. A federal regulator oversees that analysis.

Changes Made In Response To Lead In Water

Apr 5, 2016

State and federal officials are making adjustments to the water testing process after major lead issues in Flint, Michigan, and a recent concern in a small town right here in South Dakota.


Landowners and regulators are watching as crews search for the source of an oil sheen in southeastern South Dakota. The Keystone Pipeline is shut down as TransCanada teams drill for soil samples and excavate to figure out how oil got into the land. Officials with TransCanada say the oil covers about 300 square feet of land near Freeman.

Hearing Scheduled To Discuss CAFO Permit Changes

Mar 22, 2016

The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources is reviewing its regulations for farms and feedlots where thousands of animals can be grown in a single location. A hearing to reissue the general permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations is happening this fall. Some groups want stricter regulations to protect air and water from pollution.


The hearing to reissue the permit is scheduled for September in Pierre. The current conditions were set over a decade ago. Kent Woodmansey administers the DENR’s feedlot permit program.

Efforts To Clean Spring Creek Move Forward

Oct 13, 2015
Charles Michael Ray

Spring Creek looks much like any other stream in the Black Hills, it meanders through serene meadows and drops into a steep walled canyon.
But Spring Creek is different.    Water quality monitoring in recent years shows levels of fecal coliform and E. coli bacteria above the EPA threshold for swimming.    The pollution may come from both human and animal waste entering the stream.

Mega Dairy Planned Near Watertown Faces Opposition

Aug 23, 2015

A proposed 49-hundred head dairy near Watertown is facing opposition. There are multiple issues surrounding the proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. 

The House Ag and Natural Resources Committee says South Dakota will not become a dumping ground for oil and gas production wastes. The Committee is addressing Senate Bill 59 which is designed to prohibit disposal of oil and gas byproducts on any South Dakota land. North Dakota has proposed moving their production waste into South Dakota. Lawmakers say they’re concerned that could open the flood gates to other states bringing their wastes here.