U.S. Forest Service to Upgrade Contaminated Nemo Water System

NEMO, S.D. (AP) – After proposing to give a small South Dakota town filters for well water contamination potentially caused the U.S. Forest Service, the agency has shifted to implementing a $1.9 million permanent water supply system.

The agency released a plan this month to upgrade the temporary water system that installed 20 years ago in Nemo and make it a permanent system to serve about a dozen affected locations for free.

The system will be operated by and at the expense of the Forest Service.

The contamination may date back to the 1960s, when the agency began spraying ethylene dibromide on trees to kill pine beetles.

Researchers eventually discovered that the chemical can infiltrate groundwater and cause cancer in people who consume.