Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



The proper public sanitation on regard to sewage disposal and obtaining a satisfactory domestic water supply is a problem which confronts many of the smaller cities and towns in the upper Great Plains Area. Volga, South Dakota, is very representative of this problem, in size of population, wealth, and topography. This incorporated community is concentrated on a six hundred forty acre area, which lies two miles west of the Big Sioux River. Land on which the town is located is glacial tillm level and flat except for a gradual rise to the south east amounting to about twelve feet at the edge of the town. The situation of the town is just at the margin of the Big Sioux River Flood plain and drainage is into a sluggish meandering creek which passes by the north west border of the town. The water supply of the city comes from a sand and gravel bed which underlies the entire area at a depth of from ten to eighteen feet. The water bearing stratum lies over an impervious layer of clay whose thickness has never been determined. The depth of the water below the surface of the ground is subject to seasonal variation, but is usually ten to fifteen feet below the surface. During the season of melting snow the top of the water table is at or near the surface of the ground in the lower part of the town. There is no central water supply, so each house has a sand point well driven into the water bearing stratum. In most instances the well is beneath the floor of the basement, where a pump. driven by an electric motor, supplies the water for an individual pressure tank. During the wet season the basements are subject to flooding and contamination of the well with surface water and back flow from the sewer lines and septic tanks. The relative levels of basements, septic tank, cesspool and well are shown by Figure I. Until the year 1943 there were only nineteen disposal units (septic tanks) in the community. Since that time 70 per cent of the residences and business establishments have been equipped with septic tanks. The residences having a septic tank, almost without exception, have modern bath rooms with water closet and a kitchen sink. The material listed under data speaks of facilities in the residences surveyed. Under this the author's reference to "water facilities only" refers to water situated in kitchen sink and "full facilities" means water closet, sink and bath.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Water-supply -- South Dakota -- Volga
Sewage disposal -- South Dakota -- Volga



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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