ST. CHARLES, Mo. – This week, crews will start putting in permanent monitoring wells in 13 places in St. Charles. With temperatures in the upper teens, workers installed a pair of two permanent monitoring wells on Tuesday.

“Last week, the EPA finished their site investigation of our well field,” said Nick Galla, director of public works for the City of St. Charles. “They did what’s called a direct push testing. They take some soil samples and try to determine where they feel some of the contamination is coming from. The city feels it’s emanating from the Ameren substation site. So they started doing work concentrating around city well six, which is one of the wells we had to turn off last year.”

The City of St. Charles is trying to better understand the extent of the contamination from the Ameren Huster Road substation. In October, FOX 2 reported that four of the city’s seven water wells were shut down due to contamination.

Now, five of the seven water wells have been shut down by the city, and officials are conducting their own independent investigation at the Elm Point Wellfield.

“These are relatively small wells, about two inch in diameter,” said John Phillips, utility superintendent for the City of St. Charles. “But they go down 75 to 85 and 65 to 75-foot level, so that we can draw water from those two different levels and see if that contamination is heavy or lighter where it might exist at. So we know the path that it’s heading towards our wells.”

St. Charles has been purchasing more than 60% of its water from the city of St. Louis since 2017, spending more than $2 million.

“I want to reiterate that our water is safe,” Galla said. “It always has been safe and will be safe. We never had a detection of that contaminate leaving our treatment system. I want people to rest assure that the city is going to do everything to keep that water safe.”

St. Charles wants the EPA and Ameren to pay for the relocation of city water wells to an area free of contamination. The process could take three to five years to complete.

The EPA has scheduled a community meeting for Feb. 23 to discuss groundwater contamination in St. Charles. They plan to put 26 permanent monitoring wells in 13 different places in the area.