Town of Hermosa fined for spraying too much wastewater over farm fields

$13,000 penalty addresses numerous water quality violations

By: - November 17, 2022 4:54 pm
Wastewater treatment plant in Buena Vista, Georgia, on July 29, 2020.

Wastewater treatment plant in Buena Vista, Georgia, on July 29, 2020. (USDA photo courtesy of Phillip A Read)

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) has fined Hermosa $13,000 for Surface Water Discharge permit violations.

The city of 373, located about 20 miles south of Rapid City, failed to submit documentation before spraying wastewater on agricultural land, the DANR said. It also failed to monitor that wastewater and went over the allowable spraying limits.

Some towns rely on lagoons for storing wastewater. Those lagoons tend not to fill because of evaporation. However, loading wastewater into trucks and spraying it onto agricultural land is an option if they do.

“Hermosa has addressed these violations,” DANR Secretary Hunter Roberts said in a statement. “However, this penalty reinforces the need for permit compliance to protect the public and the environment.”

Hermosa also received the fine for violation of E. coli limits that can be in public waters and failure to submit water quality monitoring reports. 

 The department says Hermosa is required to submit an updated management plan for spraying wastewater and obtain permission prior to spraying going forward. In addition, Hermosa is not allowed to add any chemicals to its wastewater without written approval from DANR.

Starting on April 1, 2023, the town will be required to submit quarterly progress reports on the status of the upgrades.

 Hermosa is working on a project that will increase wastewater capacity – reducing the need to spray excess wastewater onto land. 

The penalties go into a state fund used to respond to environmental emergencies.  



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