This report presents water-quality data that have been compiled and collected for a reconnaissance-level assessment of water quality near Flandreau, South Dakota. The investigation was initiated as a cooperative effort between the U.S. Geological Survey and the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe.
Members of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe have expressed concern that Tribal members residing in the city of Flandreau experience more health problems than the general population in the surrounding area. Prior to December 2000, water for the city of Flandreau was supplied by wells completed in the Big Sioux aquifer within the city of Flandreau. After December 2000, water for the city of Flandreau was supplied by the Big Sioux Community Water System from wells completed in the Big Sioux aquifer along the Big Sioux River near Egan, about 8 river miles downstream of Flandreau. There is some concern that the public and private water supplies provided by wells completed in the Big Sioux aquifer near the Big Sioux River may contain chemicals that contribute to the health problems.
Data compiled from other investigations provide information about the water quality of the Big Sioux River and the Big Sioux aquifer in the Flandreau area from 1978 through 2001. The median, minimum, and maximum values are presented for fecal bacteria, nitrate, arsenic, and atrazine. Nitrate concentrations of water from Flandreau public-supply wells occasionally exceeded the Maximum Contaminant Level of 10 milligrams per liter for public drinking water.
For this study, untreated-water samples were collected from the Big Sioux River in Flandreau and from five wells completed in the Big Sioux aquifer in and near Flandreau. Treated-water samples from the Big Sioux Community Water System were collected at a site about midway between the treatment facility near Egan and the city of Flandreau. The first round of sampling occurred during July 9-12, 2001, and the second round of sampling occurred during August 20-27, 2001. Samples were analyzed for a broad range of compounds, including major ions, nutrients, trace elements, pesticides, antibiotics, and organic wastewater compounds, some of which might cause adverse health effects after long-term exposure. Samples collected on August 27, 2001, from the Big Sioux River also were analyzed for human pharmaceutical compounds.
The quality of the water in the Big Sioux River and the Big Sioux aquifer in the Flandreau area cannot be thoroughly characterized with the limited number of samples collected within a 2-month period, and for many analytes, neither drinking-water standards nor associations with adverse health effects have been established. Concentrations of some selected analytes were less than U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drinking-water standards at the time of the sampling, and concentrations of most organic compounds were less than the respective method reporting levels for most of the samples.