Grant County hog facility gets one state water permit

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Farm Forum

PIERRE — The developer of a pork complex planned for Grant County received a state well permit on July 9 from the South Dakota Water Management Board.

None of the past opponents intervened. Recently, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Grant County Board of Adjustment whose members granted the conditional-use permit.

Teton LLC intends to build and operate what’s known as a CAFO — concentrated animal feeding operation — that would house 6,616 “finisher” swine heavier than 55 pounds and 1,200 smaller “nursery” swine.

On July 9, the state board conducted an informal proceeding on two water permits sought by the Pipestone, Minn.-based group for the project.

A full hearing was scheduled, because of the expectation that opponents would contest the permit.

The intense zoning fight didn’t carry over to the water issue, however.

The state board approved a permit to draw 22.4 acre-feet of water per year from the Veblen aquifer, as the state’s chief water-rights engineer, Jeanne Goodman, recommended.

But the board also agreed with Goodman’s other recommendation to defer a second permit application for up to one year because there isn’t enough data yet about the Granite Wash aquifer.

Teton can use a well it already has in the Granite Wash aquifer, but the total withdrawal from there and the wells in the Veblen aquifer can’t exceed 18 acre-feet combined per year.

That is the maximum allowed under what South Dakota law calls reasonable domestic use and doesn’t require a state permit.