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Three EPA achievement awards received in South Dakota

Release Date: 03/13/2006
Contact Information: Randy Brown, (303) 312-6048, brown.randy@epa.gov; Frank Montarelli, (303) 312-6780, montarelli.frank@epa.gov

Environmental leadership for water quality, waste management cited

(Denver, Colo. - Mar. 13, 2006) -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 8’s administrator, Robert E. Roberts, is presenting three EPA Environmental Achievement Awards in South Dakota today and tomorrow, March 13 and 14.

Roberts will present the achievement awards to officials of the Stanley County Conservation District for its recent completion of the Bad River Water Quality Project, and to officials of the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources and South Dakota Department of Agriculture for animal feeding operators compliance, both at 11 a.m. Monday in the Matthew Training Center, DENR, in Pierre, and to officials of the Brown County Landfill for leadership in solid waste management, at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Commission Chambers, Brown County Courthouse, in Aberdeen.

"The people receiving these awards have applied the highest standards of leadership by demonstrating creativity and taking innovative actions for the environment," said Roberts. "Their selection for this significant recognition attests to the environmental contributions they have made here in South Dakota."

Bad River Water Quality Project:
This nearly 14-and-a-half-year project has achieved remarkable success in bringing the greater watershed community together with result being cleaner water for South Dakota. The nonpoint source project was undertaken to address excess sediment delivery by the Bad River into Lake Sharpe. The estimated historic annual loading of 3,250,000 tons of sediment from the 3,173 square mile, Bad River Watershed that enters Lake Sharpe had reduced water quality in Lake Sharpe and the Missouri River; created channel restrictions; led to lowland flooding in the towns of Pierre and Fort Pierre; led to a reduction of power generation capacity at the Oahe Dam upstream from Pierre and Fort Pierre during the winter months; and reduced water-based recreation in Lake Sharpe. The project was completed under the sponsorship of numerous government entities and watershed landowners. The financial and technical assistance provided by the partnership resulted in a 90 percent project participation by watershed landowners who installed best management practices on 95 percent of the land in the Plum Creek Watershed.

SD DENR and SD DA Animal Feeding Operations Compliance:
In what could serve as a national model, DENR, DOA and regulated animal feeding operators worked together to meet new EPA requirements and, in
the process, ensured the animal waste would be controlled and South Dakota waters would be protected. EPA's new requirements for regulated
AFOs came in 2002. DENR understood the importance of these rules and proceeded to quickly promulgate new rules and incorporate them into a
revised state general permit for the regulated AFOs in the state. Because of these actions, South Dakota became the first state in the nation to comply with the new federal requirements for regulated AFOs. However, DENR, DOA, and regulated animal feeding operators encountered obstacles while working toward AFO compliance. The needed AFO upgrades would cost several hundred thousand dollars each and a federal USDA - Natural Resource Conservation Service cost-share grant funding program for the needed construction hinged upon the AFO operator first completing an engineering design. The engineering designs were costing up to $20,000 each. DENR and the DOA recognized this problem early on and worked together to find solutions to obtain the needed cost share funding for the completion of engineering designs. This then allowed the animal feeding operators to access the federal Natural Resource Conservation Service funding for consruction of the needed upgrades.


Brown County Landfill:
It’s said that the customer comes first at the Brown County Landfill, and that sets the tone for this innovative operation that strives to make waste disposal and recycling convenient where, in this case, convenience leads to environmental benefits. By making the dropoff process easy for citizens, recycling rates are high, meaning more material gets removed from the waste stream, resulting in less bulk going into the landfill and more resources get re-used. For example, landfill users are greeted by a large, asphalt-paved lot where wastes and materials can be conveniently dropped for recycling or disposal. Each individual waste drop-off spot it clearly marked by signage. Waste storage containers are lined as appropriate to contain potential spillage. The asphalt pavement also serves to minimize environmental impacts in the events of spillage. More than a dozen types of waste can be easily dropped off for recycling, everything from used oil and antifreeze to white goods, waste tires and even bicycles. Roll-off containers are easily accessed for dropping off non-recyclable waste materials.

EPA Region 8 presents awards in four categories to individuals and groups. This award recognizes significant achievements in the protection of public health or the environment and in advancing the Agency’s strategic goals. Among the criteria is an outstanding contribution to environmental protection through a single action, or by an ongoing action over an appreciable period of time.