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LETTER: SD must protect water from Powertech

To the Editor:

 Pennington County’s wastewater treatment systems ordinance requires septic and holding tanks be cleaned so Rapid City’s water source, the Madison Aquifer, stays clean and the water safe (“The women of waste,” Rapid City Journal, Sunday, July 21).


 This is the same aquifer from which Powertech wants to extract water at 551 gallons per minute for uranium mining.


 The used water becomes contaminated with radioactive byproducts and heavy metals (arsenic, selenium, lead, etc.), and will be pumped underground where it may easily leach into groundwater because of unknown, complex, irregular aquifer boundaries, or from fractures or joints in the underground formation, and/or because of leaks, spills or other failures. Powertech is also requesting to spray the wastewater on the ground where toxic material both soaks into the ground and evaporates.


 Powertech claims everything will be perfectly safe. Why then are they requesting an exemption from EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act? The EPA has been weakened by corporate and political pressure and readily approves exemptions (cf. “Injection Wells,” Lustgarten, ProPublica, Dec. 11, 2012).


 Citizens alert! Our aquifer water is for drinking, ranching and agriculture. Rapid City citizens, and all other South Dakotans, must demand protection of all our aquifers.