Lake Elmo outgrowing its water system: New well to provide more capacity

This map shows the location of Lake Elmo's Well No. 4, which is expected to be operational by the end of the year. (Map courtesy of the city of Lake Elmo)
This map shows the location of Lake Elmo’s Well No. 4, which is expected to be operational by the end of the year. (Map courtesy of the city of Lake Elmo)

In a sign of growth, the city of Lake Elmo is adding a new well to its water supply system.

“The addition of a new supply well, Well No. 4, is needed to meet the current demands of the city’s water supply,” city spokesperson Alyssa MacLeod said. “Well No. 4 is also required to be placed on line before the city can expand its water system customer base from new growth and development.”

In short, the city is outgrowing its current system.

According to MacLeod, the city needs the well to meet the peak demand for water in the summer, and it will also serve as a backup of the current system. The well is also needed before the city can add more users to the system as the city sees anticipated growth. The need for the new well was identified as early as 2007, MacLeod said, and it’s included in the city’s 2030 comprehensive water system plan.

The well project includes three phases — the well, the pumphouse and the water main connection.

“The reason for the three contracts is different contractor specialties,” City Engineer Jack Griffin said. “You have a well drilling contractor for the well. A pumphouse is building, equipment, electrical and mechanical. … And then the connecting the water main is a utility contractor.”

Phase one of the project is nearly complete, with the well already drilled.

On Jan. 6 the Lake Elmo City Council authorized staff to seek bids for the completion of phase two, which includes a building to house the well and also includes chemical feed equipment, controls and discharge piping.

The well is located just east of the intersection of Lake Elmo Avenue and 50th Street on a 1.4 acre site.

The pumphouse building will be 35 by 37 feet and will include a backup generator.

“It’s a pretty basic building,” Griffin said. He added that the designs call for putting more money into chemical-sensitive areas where equipment needs to last, but that they put less money into less critical features.

Together, the three phases of the project are expected to cost about $1.9 million. The Department of Employment and Economic Development gave the city a $1 million grant toward key water system improvement projects, and part of that money is being spent on each of the project’s three phases. The city is required to match the funds.

The Well No. 4 project began in 2012, when the city drilled a test well to confirm adequate production capacity and water quality at the location, MacLeod said.

The city expects the well to be operational by the end of this year.

Contact Jonathan Young at [email protected]