HOT SPRINGS-The City of Hot Springs was awarded the Secretary’s Award for Drinking Water Excellence by the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the year of 2018. This is the City's sixteenth consecutive year of providing safe drinking water to the public of Hot Springs.
Hot Springs fell well below the highest level allowed for all four major contaminants: copper, lead, alpha emitters and fluoride.
Hot Springs' Public Works Engineer, Tracy Bastian said the good marks are primarily due to the water's source, "we have great water here."
Bastian added the there were several factors influencing the quality of water in Hot Springs.
The water has a pH over 7 meaning the water isn't acidic. Because the water isn't acidic, lead and copper don't leech from pipes and into the water supply.
Also, the water is sourced from the ground. Bastian said in addition to an increased mineral content, groundwater is generally a safer source of drinking water than surface water like lakes, rivers or reservoirs.
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The City has two sources that supply Hot Springs with water. The first is a a spring located on Hot Brook Canyon Road. This spring services most of the west side of town. The second is the pump house near Evan's Plunge which provides water to the east side of town.
Bastian said the two water sources have similar water quality but that the water coming from the pumping station generally has a slightly higher mineral content.
The City doesn't add any fluoride to their water, but some does occur naturally in Hot Springs's water source.
Alpha emitters are also naturally occurring. Alpha emitters are particles undergoing radioactive decay.
Bastian said the largest challenge facing the City's water system today is upgrading the older parts of the system though he said most of the City is up to date.
He also said that if Hot Springs ever experienced a significant population increase, then a third water source would be necessary.