Note: This story was updated at 5:09 p.m. to include a comment from Lincoln County planning and zoning.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Federal regulations followed by the state of South Dakota require a minimal depth of three feet or 36″ for buried pipelines carrying hazardous material.

Summit Carbon Solutions said it plans to bury a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline that will travel through 18 counties in South Dakota four feet deep from the top of the pipe.

A roughly 2,000-mile CO2 pipeline would capture CO2 at ethanol sites along the route through South Dakota, Iowa, parts of Minnesota and two other states. C02, which is listed as hazardous material, would be transported in an underground pipeline with eventual burial at a site in North Dakota. Summit has applied for permit with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. Public input meetings are set for March.

Leah Mohr, the deputy director of the S.D. PUC, said the federal regulation that applies to hazardous material pipelines is 49 CFR 195.210. 

“Note that the federal regulations establish minimums, so it may be the prerogative of the state or local government to require more if justified,” Mohr said in an email to KELOLAND News.

Several of the counties in the proposed CO2 route are establishing new pipeline ordinances which would apply to the Summit CO2 pipeline. Others said they plan to follow the federal and PUC/state regulations.

SCS Carbon Transport plan
SCS Carbon Transport plan | SD PUC

The proposed pipeline will travel through Beadle, Brown, Clark, Codington, Edmunds, Hamlin, Hand, Hyde, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, McCook, McPherson, Minnehaha, Miner, Spink, Sully and Turner counties, according to the PUC.

Counties developing pipeline ordinances

Brown County zoning official Scott Bader said he has been updating county ordinance for the past few years. Updates include adding a cannabis ordinance and ordinances on subdivisions and agriculture topics.

Bader said he’s wanted to add an ordinance that governs underground pipelines in the county.

The county’s planning commission has recommended the county approve an ordinance that requires a depth of 72″ or six feet and setbacks of 1,500 feet, Bader said.

The county commission will consider the first reading of the proposed ordinance at an upcoming meeting.

McPherson County has a moratorium on the development of hazardous material pipelines in the county but the county is also working on hazardous material pipeline ordinance, county state’s attorney Austin Hoffman said.

“The main concern with the federal guidelines is the required depth. The federal guideline for depth is three feet,” Hoffman said. That’s not deep enough for a farm field in which heavy equipment operates, he said.

A tractor hauling a grain cart could hit a soft spot in the field and sink three feet, Hoffman said.

Hoffman said he wants to increase the depth but he doesn’t believe it’s practical to increase the federal setback requirement of 50 feet. However, the county’s zoning board may want a different setback, he said.

Counties that follow state, federal regulations

Beadle County follows state and federal guidelines with pipelines, said Kim Eichstadt, the director of equalization and planning and zoning in the county. If a building is included in the pipeline then the county will require it meet certain setbacks, she said.

“We currently follow federal guidelines,” said Scott Anderson, planning and zoning director for Minnehaha County.

The county commission has not asked his office or planning and zoning to draft any new ordinances at this point, said county state’s attorney Eric Bogue.

Although Edmunds County is in the process of re-writing some ordinances that does not include a pipeline ordinance, county zoning official Brittany Duvall said.

“Lincoln County does not have a specific pipeline ordinance. We follow federal guidelines,” said Toby Brown, the planning director in Lincoln County.

As of Feb. 23, the county commission has not directed staff to make any changes in ordinances, Brown said.

Counties in discussion

“We are looking at if we need to add something to our current comprehensive plan or change an ordinance,” said Jaime Russell, a Hand County zoning official.

The county made changes to address wind energy development and Russell said pipelines are a similar discussion.

As of now, the county does not have a pipeline ordinance, Russell said.

Hyde County does not have an ordinance on pipelines, zoning official Carrie Stephenson said.

“It’s something the zoning board and commissioners are looking at,” Stephenson said. They are reviewing ordinances and other material but have not made a decision on any need or lack of need for an ordinance, she said.

Allowed with conditions

The First District Association of Local Governments works with 11 counties in northeastern South Dakota. Those counties include route path counties of Clark, Codington, Hamlin, Kingsbury, Lake and Miner.

First District executive director Todd Kays and senior planner Luke Muller said Clark, Codington, Hamlin, Kingsbury and Miner do not have specific pipeline ordinances. However, the counties use conditional use permits (CUP) which can address conditions for pipelines.

In general, if the state approves a pipeline, the county can add a specific underground depth as a requirement of a CUP, Kays said.

“Basically the county is saying ‘yes’ to the permit as long as it meets setbacks and appropriate regulations,” Kays said. The CUP allows the county to attach conditions to the approval, he said.

Lake County allows pipelines and a CUP would only be required for road crossings, Muller and Kays said.

Unknown in these counties

KELOLAND News contacted representatives of all 18 counties in the Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed CO2 route.

Messages left Feb. 23 with these counties are not returned as of 3 p.m. : Sully, Turner.

Spink County zoning staff said the department did not have an administrator at this time and declined to comment.

The needed official in McCook County was not in the office on Feb. 23, according to the highway department office.