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ST. CHARLES, Mo. – The City of St. Charles plans to move forward with a lawsuit against Ameren Missouri amid frustrations with water contamination at the city’s Elm Point Wellfield.

City officials announced the hiring of two law firms, Dowd Bennett LLP and Blitz and Bardgett & Deustch L.C., to handle the non-superfund portion of a lawsuit against Ameren. The lawsuit has not yet officially been filed as of Wednesday afternoon, but Mayor Dan Borgmeyer announced it is in the works.

Once the lawsuit is filed, the City of St. Charles will be limited on what it can say about the cost of damages and other things specific to any ongoing litigation. Mayor Borgmeyer says the reason for hiring the outside law firms is because of the monetary burden the contamination has put on the city.

“It is vital to St. Charles that we are compensated fully for all damages and costs caused by the chemical pollution by Ameren and it’s time for our next action,” Borgmeyer said in a statement on the lawsuit.

As for the water wells, out of seven powered through the wellfield, only one remains currently operational. The water is still safe to drink, but Borgmeyer said the city has had to purchase about $2 million of additional water from St. Louis over the past five years.

A statement FOX 2 obtained from Ameren on the pending legal action reads, in part: “We believe our shared goal is to continue protecting the drinking water supply. The best way to do that is to work together.” Ameren Missouri claims it has already implemented several aggressive treatment techniques, with additional steps to be taken soon. All the work is approved and overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Mayor Borgmeyer released the following statement:

“As you are all aware, we have been dealing with an issue in our well field for quite some time.  I have reiterated over and over, and I will say it again today, our top priority at the City of Saint Charles is to ensure the our drinking water is safe for our residents – and we have and will continue to take all steps necessary to ensure this is true.  And, through the sole and extensive efforts of the City, it is still true today – our drinking water is safe.

However, this continues to come at a large price tag to the City.  We have spent a great deal of money on our efforts to keep our drinking water safe.  And now we are currently in the process of spending even more to put into place the treatment components at our water facility necessary to treat the water that Ameren has been found by the EPA to have contaminated.

It is vital to Saint Charles that we are compensated fully for all damages and costs caused by the chemical pollution by Ameren and it’s time for our next action. 

 As a result, we have retained the law firms of Dowd Bennett LLP and Blitz, Bardgett, & Deutsch, L.C. to aggressively represent the city’s interest in the non-superfund portion of this matter.  The law firms will only be compensated for their work upon successful completion of this matter.  I have full confidence that these experienced, accomplished local law firms will serve our citizens well.”