Drinking Water Program

The state of South Dakota began primary enforcement of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1983. The South Dakota Drinking Water Program, part of DANR, develops and enforces the South Dakota Drinking Water Regulations that apply to public water systems in the state. Approximately 645 public water systems (PWS) currently exist in South Dakota.

Mission

The mission of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) and the Drinking Water Program is to protect public health and the environment by providing natural resources assessment, financial assistance, and regulation in a manner that promotes a successful business climate and exceeds the expectations of our customers.

Is My Water Safe To Drink?
Your water supplier has the results of all the tests that are performed on the water samples from your water system. You should contact the supplier of your water first, if they do not have the results, contact the Drinking Water Program at (605) 773- 3754. If you have your own well, click here for more information.
FAQ Question
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FAQ Question
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Action Level:The level of lead or copper which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements that a water system must follow.

Acute Health Effect:An immediate (i.e. within hours or days) effect that may result from exposure to certain drinking water contaminants (e.g., pathogens).

Aquifer:A natural underground layer, often of sand or gravel, that contains water.

Best Available Technology:The water treatment(s) that EPA certifies to be the most effective for removing a contaminant.

CFR:  Code of Federal Regulations.

Chronic Health Effect:The possible result of exposure over many years to a drinking water contaminant at levels above its Maximum Contaminant Level.

Coliform:A group of related bacteria whose presence in drinking water may indicate contamination by disease-causing microorganisms.

Community Water System: A water system which supplies drinking water to 25 or more of the same people year-round in their residences.

Compliance:The act of meeting all state and federal drinking water regulations.

Contaminant:Anything found in water (including microorganisms, minerals, chemicals, radionuclides, etc.) which may be harmful to human health.

Cryptosporidium:A microorganism commonly found in lakes and rivers which is highly resistant to disinfection. Cryptosporidium has caused several large outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness, with symptoms that include diarrhea, nausea, and/or stomach cramps. People with severely weakened immune systems (that is, severely immuno-compromised) are likely to have more severe and more persistent symptoms than healthy individuals.

Disinfectant:A chemical (commonly chlorine, chloramine, or ozone) or physical process (e.g., ultraviolet light) that kills microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.

Distribution System: A network of pipes leading from a treatment plant to customers' plumbing systems.

Exemption:State or EPA permission for a water system not to meet a certain drinking water standard. An exemption allows a system additional time to obtain financial assistance or make improvements in order to come into compliance with the standard. The system must prove that: (1) there are compelling reasons (including economic factors) why it cannot meet a Maximum Contaminant Level or Treatment Technique; (2) it was in operation on the effective date of the requirement, and (3) the exemption will not create an unreasonable risk to public health. The state must set a schedule under which the water system will comply with the standard for which it received an exemption.

Finished Water:Water that has been treated and is ready to be delivered to customers.

Giardia lamblia:A microorganism frequently found in rivers and lakes, which, if not treated properly, maycause diarrhea, fatigue, and cramps after ingestion.

Ground Water:The water that systems pump and treat from aquifers (natural reservoirs below the earth's surface).

Health Advisory:An EPA document that provides guidance and information on contaminants that can affect human health and that may occur in drinking water, but which EPA does not currently regulate in drinking water.

Inorganic Contaminants: Mineral-based compounds such as metals, nitrates, and asbestos. These contaminants are naturally-occurring in some water, but can also get into water through farming, chemical manufacturing, and other human activities. EPA has set legal limits on 15 inorganic contaminants.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL): The highest level of a contaminant that EPA allows in drinking water. MCLs ensure that drinking water does not pose either a short-term or long-term health risk. EPA sets MCLs at levels that are economically and technologically feasible. Some states set MCLs which are more strict than EPA's.

Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG):The level of a contaminant at which there would be no risk to human health. This goal is not always economically or technologically feasible, and the goal is not legally enforceable.

Microorganisms:Tiny living organisms that can be seen only with the aid of a microscope. Some microorganisms can cause acute health problems when consumed in drinking water. Also known as microbes.

Milligram per Liter (mg/L):  A measurement of concentration of a contaminant. 

Monitoring:Testing that water systems must perform to detect and measure contaminants. A water system that does not follow EPA's monitoring methodology or schedule is in violation, and may be subject to legal action.

Non-Transient, Non-Community Water System:A water system which supplies water to 25 or more of the same people at least six months per year in places other than their residences. Some examples are schools, factories, office buildings, and hospitals which have their own water systems.

Organic Contaminants:Carbon-based chemicals, such as solvents and pesticides, which can get into water through runoff from cropland or discharge from factories. EPA has set legal limits on 56 organic contaminants.

Pathogen:A disease-causing organism.

Primacy State:A State that has the responsibility and authority to administer EPA's drinking water regulations within its borders. The State must have rules at least as stringent as EPA's.

Public Notification:An advisory that EPA requires a water system to distribute to affected consumers when the system has violated Maximum Contaminant Levels or other regulations. The notice advises consumers what precautions, if any, they should take to protect their health.

Public Water System (PWS):Any water system which provides water to at least 25 people for at least 60 days annually. There are more than 170,000 PWSs providing water from wells, rivers and other sources to about 250 million Americans. The others drink water from private wells. There are differing standards for PWSs of different sizes and types.

Radionuclides:Any man-made or natural element that emits radiation and that may cause cancer after many years of exposure through drinking water.

Raw Water:Water in its natural state, prior to any treatment for drinking.

Sample:The water that is analyzed for the presence of EPA-regulated drinking water contaminants. Depending on the regulation, EPA requires water systems and states to take samples from source water, from water leaving the treatment facility, or from the taps of selected consumers.

Sanitary Survey:An on-site review of the water sources, facilities, equipment, operation, and maintenance of a public water systems for the purpose of evaluating the adequacy of the facilities for producing and distributing safe drinking water.

Secondary Drinking Water Standards:Non-enforceable federal guidelines regarding cosmetic effects (such as tooth or skin discoloration) or aesthetic effects (such as taste, odor, or color) of drinking water.

Sole Source Aquifer:An aquifer that supplies 50 percent or more of the drinking water of an area.

Source Water:Water in its natural state, prior to any treatment for drinking.

Surface Water:The water that systems pump and treat from sources open to the atmosphere, such as rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.

Transient, Non-Community Water System:A water system which provides water in a place such as a gas station or campground where people do not remain for long periods of time. These systems do not have to test or treat their water for contaminants which pose long-term health risks because fewer than 25 people drink the water over a long period. They still must test their water for microbes and several chemicals.

Treatment Technique:A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

Turbidity:The cloudy appearance of water caused by the presence of tiny particles. High levels of turbidity may interfere with proper water treatment and monitoring.

Variance:State or EPA permission not to meet a certain drinking water standard. The water system must prove that: (1) it cannot meet a Maximum Contaminant Level, even while using the best available treatment method, because of the characteristics of the raw water, and (2) the variance will not create an unreasonable risk to public health. The State or EPA must review, and allow public comment on, a variance every three years. States can also grant variances to water systems that serve small populations and which prove that they are unable to afford the required treatment, an alternative water source, or otherwise comply with the standard.

Violation:A failure to meet any state or federal drinking water regulation.

Vulnerability Assessment:An evaluation of drinking water source quality and its vulnerability to contamination by pathogens and toxic chemicals.

Watershed:The land area from which water drains into a stream, river, or reservoir.

Wellhead Protection Area: The area surrounding a drinking water well or well field which is protected to prevent contamination of the well(s).

Hotlines and Additional Information

EPA Safe Drinking Water hotline
800 426-4791

Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR)
800 GET-DENR

South Dakota Drinking Water Program
Mark Mayer, Administrator
523 East Capitol
Pierre SD 57501
Phone: 605 773-3754
Fax: 605 773-5286
Weekends please call (605) 280-6831 for E. coli positive samples or Tier I public notice consultation

National Sanitation Foundation International

Division of Emergency Management Duty Officer 605 773-3231

FBI (to report an act of terrorism) 612 376-3200

Bioterrorism hotline (to report an unusual illness or unexplained death) 800 592-1861 or 605 773-3536

Chemtree (a 24-hour emergency response communication service) 800 424-9300

Chem-Tel, Inc. (a 24-hour emergency response communication service) 800 255-3924

Infotrac (a 24-hour emergency response communication service) 800 535-5053

3E Company (a 24-hour emergency response communication service) 800 451-8346

Resource Agencies

Various funding programs are available for improvements that may be needed to assist your water system. Among the commonly used programs are:

Consolidated Water Facilities Construction Program (CWFCP)
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Joe Foss Building
523 East Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501-3181
605-773-3151

Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG)
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development
Rural Community Development Division
711 East Wells Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501-3369
605 773-5032

Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants
Rural Development Administration
(Farmers Home Administration)
Federal Building, Room 308
200 4th Street SW
Huron, SD 57350
605 353-1491