Superfund Program

Superfund is the common name given to the US law called the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, or CERCLA. Superfund is also the trust fund set up by Congress to handle emergency and hazardous waste sites needing long-term cleanup to protect human health and the environment. If you have any questions concerning the superfund program, please contact Mark Lawrensen at (605) 773-3296, or Email DANR

Sites on Superfund List:


Ellsworth Air Force Base:

Ellsworth Air Force Base (EAFB) is a U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command installation located 12 miles east of Rapid City. EAFB covers approximately 4,858 acres in Meade and Pennington Counties and includes runways and airfield operations, industrial areas, and housing and recreational facilities. Presently, the 28th Bombardment Wing (B-1B bombers) is the host unit of EAFB.

In 1990, EAFB was listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Priorities List. EAFB is on the National Priorities List in part because of the discovery of base-related contamination in water wells on adjacent private property. Sites include petroleum storage tanks, landfills, fire-training areas, explosive ordnance disposal areas, and radioactive waste sites. Contaminants of concern in soul and ground water are primarily petroleum products and waste solvents. Soil and ground water contamination is currently being treated at several locations using traditional technologies, such as ground water pump-and-treat, soil vapor extraction, and active free product recovery. In addition, the Air Force is providing clean drinking water to private residences adjacent to the Base whose drinking water wells have been contaminated. Innovative in-situ treatment technologies are also being tested, or are planned for the near future. These technologies include the use of materials that will accelerate biological degradation, like soy oil, sodium lactate, and bark mulch.

Soil and groundwater contamination was previously treated at several locations using traditional technologies, such as groundwater pump-and-treat, soil vapor extraction, and active free product recovery. Innovative in-situ treatment technologies were also tested. These technologies included the use of materials that accelerate biological degradation, like soy oil, sodium lactate, and bark mulch. In February 2012, an amendment to the Record of Decision for Operable Unit 11 (Basewide Groundwater) was approved which changed the remedy for Basewide groundwater to in-situ reductive treatment (IRT) and monitored natural attenuation (MNA). In addition, The Air Force is providing clean drinking water to private residences adjacent to the Base whose drinking water wells have been contaminated.

On December 4, 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its decision to delete portions of the Ellsworth Air Force Base Superfund Site from the National Priorities List. This partial deletion pertains to soil, surface water and sediment at Operable Units 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12. All ground water at the site, designated as Operable Unit 11, and the soil at Operable Unit 1 will remain on the National Priorities List. Active treatment and monitoring will continue for these Operable Units.

The Air Force has recently begun investigations into the potential presence of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in soil, groundwater, surface water, sediment, and drinking water at and adjacent to EAFB. PFAS are a class of synthetic fluorinated chemicals used in many industrial and consumer products, including non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, some food packaging, and in firefighting agents. In 1970, the Air Force, including EAFB, began using these firefighting agents to extinguish petroleum fires. These firefighting agents were released during training, equipment maintenance, and use. In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency set a drinking water Health Advisory Level of 70 parts per trillion for two PFASs, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctoanoic acid (PFOA), individually and combined. Documents of potential interest have been placed on the DANR on-line property search/spills database (Spills/Events Database) under DANR ID Number 2000.170.

For more information please contact:
Joane Lineburg
Remedial Project Manager
South Dakota DANR-IC&R
523 E. Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501
phone: 605-773-3296



Gilt Edge Mine:

The Gilt Edge Mine NPL Site is located southeast of Lead in the northern Black Hills in Lawrence County, South Dakota. The lead agency for the site is the EPA with support from DANR.

The area has been mined intermittently by several owners beginning in the late 1800s for gold. Cyanide leaching, mercury amalgamation, and zinc precipitation among other methods were used to recover gold. Mining activities began at the site in 1876 when the Gilt Edge and Dakota Maid claims were located. Mining continued sporadically until 1916. The Gilt Edge Mining Company was incorporated in South Dakota in 1935; the mine reopened in 1937 and operated until 1941.

In 1988, the Brohm Mining Co. started to re-mine the site and continued until they went bankrupt and abandoned the site on July 29, 1999. When Brohm left the 258-acre open pit, cyanide heap leach gold mine it was un-reclaimed, contained 150 million gallons of heavy metal laden acid water in three open pits, had 3.3 million tons of ore on the heap leach pad, and 12 million cubic yards of acidic waste rock uncapped in the Ruby Waste Rock Repository.

DANR assumed site maintenance and water treatment operations from July 1999 until August 2000 when the site was taken over by EPA's Emergency Removal Program. The site was placed on the National Priorities List in December 2000 and is currently under EPA Superfund Remedial Program.

The site has three operable units. Operable unit one is the primary mine site disturbance area, operable unit two is acid water collection and treatment, and operable unit three is the ruby waste rock repository. All three operable units are in various phases of the cleanup.

For more information please contact:
Mark Lawrensen
South Dakota DANR-IC&R
523 E. Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501
phone: 605-773-3296

Sites Deleted From Superfund List:


Williams Pipe Line Disposal Pit: Listed on NPL 8/90, Delisted from NPL 4/99:

The Williams Pipe Line Company was a petroleum terminal located in Sioux Falls, SD. The Williams Pipe Line terminal was a large tank farm the stored and distributed petroleum products such as gasoline and jet fuel.

The terminal operated a disposal pit on-site which was used in the 1970's for sludge disposal that accumulated in the petroleum storage tanks. The disposal pit was unlined pit and was where the company reportedly burned the storage tank wastes periodically until the 1970's. From 1986 to 1987, the EPA tested the sediments in the pit for contaminants and determined that they contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, pesticides and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The EPA found that groundwater near the pit was contaminated with pesticides and heavy metals. The EPA listed the site on the Superfund National Priorities List on August 30, 1990.

The EPA required an investigation of the site to determine the nature and extent of contamination of the disposal pit. The investigation showed there was petroleum and arsenic contamination in the groundwater under the terminal. The petroleum contamination is being addressed under a State order. EPA determined there was not an unacceptable risk from site contamination and did not appear to be likely in the future. Thus, the action required was to conduct a minimum of two years of groundwater monitoring for arsenic. The monitoring was to verify that there is no likely exposure potential to contamination currently or in the future. The EPA delisted the site from the Superfund National Priorities List on April 2, 1999.

For more information please contact:
Mark Lawrensen
South Dakota DANR-IC&R
523 E. Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501
phone: 605-773-3296



Whitewood Creek: List on NPL 9/83, Delisted from NPL 8/96

Whitewood Creek flows through the towns of Lead and Deadwood in the northern Black Hills and into the Belle Fourche River. Until 1984 the creek was severely impacted by the discharge from the Homestake Mining Company operations. The influence of this pollution extended into the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne Rivers and into the Oahe Reservoir.

An EPA study in 1971 showed that Homestake was discharging 312 pounds of cyanide, 240 pounds of zinc, 721 pounds of copper and 2,700 tons of suspended solids, including 9.5 tons of arsenopyrite (AsFeS), a day into Gold Run Creek, which flows into Whitewood Creek. It is estimated that since 1900, about 75 million tons of tailings containing approximately 270,000 tons of arsenic were discharged into Whitewood Creek (Goddard, 1984).

The tailings and tailings contaminated soils are also a source of dangerous levels of arsenic. On October 23, 1981, an 18-mile stretch of Whitewood Creek from Whitewood to the Belle Fourche River was proposed for inclusion on the National Priorities List.

Cleanup actions were conducted by Homestake in 1992 and 1993 in the flood plain of Whitewood Creek to significantly lower residents' contact with tailings and tailings contaminated soils in high use areas (yards, gardens, driveways, etc.). As a result of remedial activities along this stretch of creek, 27 residential sites have been cleaned up to reduce the health risks associated with exposure to arsenic.

In 1994, Lawrence, Butte and Meade counties adopted county ordinances banning future excavation and construction on tailings remaining along Whitewood Creek. These ordinances also detail requirements for obtaining a residential building permit when constructing on "tailings impacted soils" (soil containing arsenic at greater than 100 parts per million). The site has entered the Operations and Maintenance phase, which requires water sampling of Whitewood Creek, monitoring of cleaned up residential sites for flood impacts, a yearly education program, and a five-year review program on the effectiveness of the remedial action. The EPA delisted the site from the Superfund National Priorities List on August 13, 1996.

Documents are available on the DANR on-line property search/spills database under DANR ID Number 2010.209

For more information please contact:


Christin Russell
Remedial Project Manager
Superfund & Emergency Management Division
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region
1595 Wynkoop St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 312-6483

Joane Lineburg

Remedial Project Manager
South Dakota DANR-IC&R
523 E. Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501
phone: 605-773-3296

What is CERCLIS?

CERCLIS is the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System developed and maintained by EPA. CERCLIS contains information on hazardous waste sites, site inspections, preliminary assessments, and remediation of hazardous waste sites. Sites in South Dakota on the CERCLIS can be found by linking to the EPA web page listed below. EPA CERCLIS Links:

CERCLIS Overview Page

Superfund Action at Federal Facility Sites (NPL)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sites

Black Hills Army Depot

The Black Hills Ordnance Depot was officially designated in February 1942 in Fall River County. The site consisted of 21,095.85 acres, and was utilized for long-term storage of ammunition. In August 1962, the site was renamed the Black Hills Army Depot. The facility was developed with industrial storage, administrative buildings,housing, and related support facilities and utilities. The Depot was used for the receipt, storage, maintenance, inspection, testing, restoration, issuance and shipping of ammunition, propellants, and chemical toxics, the unpacking and functional packing of small arms ammunition, and the demilitarization of unsafe, obsolete and surplus ammunition, chemical ammunition, ammunition components, chemical toxics and general supplies. On June 30, 1967, the Black Hills Army Depot was closed and in 1968 was declared surplus by the Department of the Army. The City of Edgemont, South Dakota, purchased all land within the boundary fence and the remainder of the former site was transferred to the United States Forest Service. Currently, the entire site is used for livestock grazing. In 1981 a study conducted by Ecology and Environment, Inc. determined that a change in land use which would generate direct human contact, such as housing or crops for human consumption, should be avoided.



Pine Ridge Gunnery Range/Badlands Bombing Range

In 1942 the United States Government leased 341,725.61 acres of land on the Oglala Sioux Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota for use as an aerial gunnery and bombing range. Over the next 34 years (until the mid 1970's) the range was used intermittently by the Air Force for various activities including aerial gunnery and bombing practice/proficiency and by the South Dakota National Guard as an artillery impact range. 100-500 lb. sand-filled practice bombs, 100 lb. magnesium-filled photoflash bombs, 3.5 inch anti-tank rockets, 2.75 inch FEAR/practice rockets, 20-75 mm artillery projectiles, 50 caliber projectiles, 105 mm howitzer rounds, 8 inch howitzer rounds, and 155 mm high explosive and illumination projectiles were believed to have been dropped or fired at the site. Five unexploded ordnance clearance/decontamination projects have been completed on all or parts of the Badlands Bombing Range. These projects were conducted in 1963, 1964, 1974, 1975, and 1997. Unexploded ordnance clearance/decontamination efforts and environmental monitoring at the site are ongoing at the present time.



Yankton Air-To-Ground Gunnery Range

In 1942, the United States Government acquired 7,700 acres of land in Bon Homme and Yankton Counties in South Dakota for use as an aerial gunnery and bombing range. Over the next four years, the range was used for various activities including skip bombing, air-to-ground artillery target practice and night precision bombing. One hundred pound sand-filled practice bombs and 50 caliber projectiles are believed to have been dropped or fired at the site. In 1946, the United States Government terminated all leases for the site. Currently, the United States Army Corp of Engineers is conducting a site investigation under their Military Munitions Response Program confirm the site is clear of potentially hazardous munitions debris.



Sioux City Precision Bombing Range No. 2

In 1942, the United States Government acquired 1,803.78 acres of land in Union County, South Dakota for use as an aerial gunnery and bombing range. Over the next three years, the range supported machine gun and bombing practice from the Sioux City Army Air Field. One hundred pound sand-filled practice bombs and 50 caliber projectiles are believed to have been dropped or fired at the site. In 1945, the United States Government terminated all leases for the site. Currently, the United States Army Corp of Engineers is conducting a site investigation under their Military Munitions Response Program confirm the site is clear of potentially hazardous munitions debris.



Sioux City Precision Bombing Range No. 6

In 1943, the United States Government acquired 8,056.60 acres of land for use as a precision bombing range by the Army Air Force. The range consisted of approximately 3,716 acres in Bon Homme County South Dakota. Over the next two years, the range was used for machine gun and bombing practice. One hundred pound sand-filled practice bombs and 50 caliber projectiles are believed to have been dropped or fired at the site. In 1945, the United States Government declared the site surplus and by the end of 1946, all leases had been terminated. Currently, the United States Army Corp of Engineers is conducting a site investigation under their Military Munitions Response Program confirm the site is clear of potentially hazardous munitions debris.

U.S. Forest Service Sites

United States Forest Service Nemo, SD

The United States Forest Service is conducting a Superfund (CERCLA) non-time critical removal action to address groundwater contaminated with pesticides near the Nemo Work Center located in Nemo, South Dakota. The U.S. Forest Service was trying to control bark beetle infestations through the use of pesticides in the 1970's. The mixing and handling practices of the pesticides at the Nemo Work Center resulted in spillage that has reached private drinking water wells in the Nemo area. The Superfund non-time critical removal action underway includes providing clean drinking water to the impacted parties, a pump and treat remediation system to clean the groundwater, and groundwater monitoring to evaluate to the size and movement of the contamination plume.



United States Forest Service Riley Pass Abandoned Uranium Mine

The United States Forest Service is conducting a Superfund (CERCLA) non-time critical removal action to address metals and radioactive mine waste contamination coming from the Riley Pass Abandoned Uranium Mine. The mine is located on U.S. Forest Service property approximately 25 miles north of Buffalo, South Dakota in the North Cave Hills. The localized contamination is a result of uranium strip mining that occurred in early 1960's. The goal of the Forest Service's current actions at the site is to remove or reduce any exposure to the contaminated surface material.