Most attempts to mitigate damage from runoff of agricultural operations and urban construction are voluntary in South Dakota. Few farmers and contractors opt to use sometimes costly pollution-control processes.
Pollution control violations are common at city and industrial treatment plants that send treated wastewater into rivers. Yet the state is behind in updating discharge permits and inspecting the wastewater plants.
State waterways are under siege from cities, industries and agriculture. South Dakota News Watch special report shows early 50 million gallons of treated sewage, chemicals and bacteria flow into rivers each day with potentially dangerous consequences for human health.
The need is great - more than 1,000 bridges in the state are in need of repair. But some county officials say the state's program unfairly favors wealthier counties leaving smaller, more rural areas on their own.