Search begins for last well to supply water to St. Louis, Alma

By Ralph Echtinaw

The end is in sight for the city’s creation of water wells in Arcada Township to replace wells in the city limits that were closed when St. Louis and Alma created the Gratiot Area Water Authority in 2015.

St. Louis City Council approved paying $182,800 to the Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber consulting firm of Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Nov. 5, for professional services related to design and installation of well No. 12 in Arcada Township.

Well 2

This is one of the wells in Arcada Township.

The money will be reimbursed by the Environmental Protection Agency on account of St. Louis’ water being potentially contaminated by the Velsicol site.

Once well No. 12 is completed, EPA will have paid for four new wells, and the Gratiot Area Water Authority will own seven wells in total capable of providing 3.56 million gallons per day to Alma and St. Louis residents.

Fishbeck will conduct exploratory drilling on the southern portion of 114 acres the city owns east of Luce and north of Van Buren in Arcada Township to find a suitable site for well No. 12

If all goes well, construction of a building to house the pump, etc. will go forth next year, City Manager Kurt Giles said.

The Gratiot Area Water Authority should have ample capacity at that time. “For the foreseeable future, there are no immediate plans for more wells,” said Alma City Manager Matt Schooley via email. “Based on current populations and uses, the wells that are in service as well as the proposed well should supply both cities well into the future.”

Alma didn’t have to create new wells for the Gratiot Area Water Authority because it didn’t have the potential for contamination that St. Louis wells did.

Of eight original Alma wells only three remain. They are located on Lincoln Avenue, Riverview Drive and in Conservation Park.

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