Concepts for Study of the Contamination Potential of Bedrock Aquifers in the Black Hills Area, Western South Dakota

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Concepts for Study of the Contamination Potential of Bedrock Aquifers in the Black Hills Area, Western South Dakota

Bedrock aquifers are the primary source of drinking water in the Black Hills area of western South Dakota. Large secondary porosity and permeability from fracturing or solution enhancement can allow extremely rapid infiltration of recharge with very little filtering of potential contaminants. Extensive development that is occurring in recharge areas has potential for introduction of contaminants. Contamination of bedrock aquifers could impair the quality of water supplies for a large part of the population in the Black Hills or require investment in expensive water treatment facilities. Conversely, limiting growth and development in recharge areas also has substantial economic implications. Thus, information regarding the contamination potential of bedrock aquifers in the Black Hills area would be extremely useful for a variety of water-resource managers and land-use planners.

The U.S. Geological Survey has prepared a preliminary concept paper that identifies possible approaches for evaluating the potential for contamination of bedrock aquifers in the Black Hills area. An executive summary that contains major highlights from the concept paper also has been prepared. These documents have been circulated to various interested parties for consideration.