GF&P panel upset about sewage going into reserviorFORT PIERRE — Members of the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission made clear last week they won’t tolerate further inaction on a pollution problem at Angostura Reservoir.
By: Bob Mercer, The Daily Republic
FORT PIERRE — Members of the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission made clear last week they won’t tolerate further inaction on a pollution problem at Angostura Reservoir.
Dozens of house trailers don’t have sewage systems that meet standard state requirements.
The trailers are on federal property at Angostura state recreation area. The state Division of Parks and Recreation leases the marina concession to a private operator.
Approximately 30 percent of the marina income comes from the two trailer parks, according to division director Doug Hofer.
The dilemma isn’t new. Hofer said a 2008 inspection of 86 trailers found five had adequate septic systems.
Hofer asked for and received from the commission Thursday a one-year extension on the lease with Moyle Petroleum. It is the third such extension in recent years.
He said more time is needed to work out a solution.
Four commissioners — Susie Knippling, of Gann Valley, Jim McMahon, of Canton, Barry Jensen, of White River, and Jim Spies, of Watertown, — took turns delivering a scolding, telling Hofer that they don’t want sewage running into the reservoir.
Hofer said the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which controls Angostura dam, hasn’t tested the water quality but his division’s tests at distant swimming beaches didn’t find problems.
The reservoir is on the Cheyenne River near Hot Springs. It is highly popular for boating and for fishing.
The concession isn’t a viable business operation without the trailer-space revenue, according to Hofer. But the conditions aren’t favorable for good sewage treatment either, he acknowledged.
He said there isn’t sufficient space for each trailer to have a separate drain field for its own septic system, the soils are too tight for efficient operation of drain fields and a joint sewage system promises to be highly expensive.
Commissioners said the past extensions were intended to provide the time to get the situation fixed. The latest extension would run through Dec. 31, 2012.
Based on the lack of progress so far, commissioners expressed doubt that the matter can be resolved in the next year.
“You’re looking at 2013, I can see that. I don’t like what’s happening there in the lake at all,” commissioner Spies told Hofer. “I think we got to really get after this.”
“We’re ready to do that,” Hofer replied.
Commissioner John Cooper of Pierre, the previous head of the state Game, Fish and Parks Department and Hofer’s superior, somewhat defended the staff. He said they’ve been trying but the situation is complex dealing with a federal agency, a private concessionaire and private owners of scores of trailers.
“One year is enough, and these folks (at Angostura) need a message,” Cooper said.