ST, CHARLES, Mo. – St. Charles Mayor Dan Borgmeyer is starting the process of finding a new water wellfield for the city.

This comes after five of the city’s seven water wells were shut down because of groundwater contamination.

The EPA and DNR are looking into the problem, and residents being given more time to weigh in on the issue. However, city leadership is pushing to solve the problem now and is prepared to use taxpayer funds to do so.

Borgmeyer claims Ameren Missouri caused the problem. St. Charles water wells were around Ameren’s power plant in the area. The chemicals Ameren used to clean its power plant seeped into the ground and, supposedly, contaminated the water wells.

The mayor says building a new wellfield would cost the city $40 million.

“Two things. Number one: we can’t wait for this situation for Ameren, and EPA, and DNR to move forward,” he said. “So, we’re going to go ahead and move forward on investigating a new wellfield. We’re looking at sites right now. We’ve had an engineer to look at it. We’re doing a preliminary assessment on what might be the best site.”

Borgmeyer is hoping Ameren Missouri will pay for the new wellfield. As of now, St. Charles taxpayers would foot the bill.

“Fortunately, our water rates are constructed with a rainy day fund in them, so we’ve got enough reserve that we don’t have to raise people’s water rates,” Borgmeyer said.

He says the EPA is not doing enough to get Ameren to pay for fixing the problem.

“DNR and EPA are saying that Ameren is monitoring. In my opinion, that’s like hiring the fox to watch the chickens to see what’s going on,” Borgmeyer said. “We decided to take our own initiatives and move forward to guarantee … that our people have good drinking water.”

Craig Giesmann, Ameren Missouri’s director of environmental services, spoke with FOX 2 last month about the issue.

“So, for many years, we’ve been working with EPA, DNR, and the city to clean up any contamination, and we’ve had a great success with that EPA,” Giesmann said. “At the end of the day, they’re in charge, and we’re working with them to make sure that we do things by their procedures, by their practices, and to make sure that the area around our substation is clean.

“So that’s exactly why we support the investigation that EPA has proposed. So, EPA and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources are working together, and they’re trying to investigate this and determine the cause and the sources, and we support that. We want to work with them collaboratively, just like we have for many, many years now.”