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Geothermal applications in South Dakota have been ongoing on a small scale since the early 1950s with a few additions in the 1960s. The real surge developed as a result of the oil embargo in 1973 and the efforts of ERDA and DOE. South Dakota started its first study in 1975.
Application of hot water has focused primarily on the Madison Limestone as the main source of water due to wells already in the aquifer and some history from oil tests. Three feasibility studies and four demonstration projects have been funded by the federal government and one by the state government. In addition, three privately funded projects have begun. All but one project are for space heating of buildings, primarily state and municipal. The other project is for grain drying.
To date, corrosion is the largest single problem, followed closely by scaling, and disposal of the spent fluid. Because of the quality of most of the waters tested to date, the disposal has been limited primarily to dumping into reservoirs from which it is used for irrigation or other conventional uses.
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