ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Monday was the end of the 21-day deadline set by the EPA for the water contamination crisis in the City of St. Charles.
St. Charles is at odds with Ameren over the issue. EPA directed the two sides to reach an access agreement to city property that would allow Ameren to address groundwater contamination from the Huster Road Substation.
St. Charles Mayor Dan Borgmeyer said St. Charles and Ameren representatives met on Monday, but no agreement was reached.
“We’re sitting down at the table with this supposedly shortly and negotiating, but that’s still a long way away,” Borgmeyer said. “Nobody rolls over for that kind of money. So it will probably wind up in court, is my guess.”
St. Charles has launched its own cleanup plan. It’s having a special set-up to decontaminate and clean the water. It’s an eight-tank assembly that will cost the city around $18 million.
It’s not having to shoulder that expense by itself. The state of Missouri is working on money for the City of St. Charles.
Representative Phil Christofanelli said he got that ball rolling.
“So we have proposed a $10 million interest-free loan program to update the water infrastructure and deal with the water crisis in the City of St. Charles,” he said.
The city would have around 10 years to repay the money. The city’s costs in the crisis are going up by the day. It’s having to buy millions of gallons more from the City of St. Louis because St. Charles is not producing as much water on its own. The contamination caused six of the city’s seven water wells to shut down.
The mayor said the new decontamination approach is just a short-term solution. He said the long-term answer is to relocate Wellfield. The price tag on that could be more than $50 million.
Ameren said it’s doing all it can to resolve the crisis. The company issued a statement Tuesday, adding that it’s focused on cleaning up the contaminated water.
We exited yesterday’s wide-ranging discussion with representatives of the City of St. Charles feeling positive.
Ameren Missouri continues to take proactive steps to protect drinking water. Last week, following EPA approval and under the agency’s supervision, crews began installing multiple subsurface barrier walls on private property north of Interstate 370. These additional layers of protection are additive to the treatment techniques put in place on our substation property.Ameren Missouri