Lewis & Clark Regional Water System Celebrates 25 Years
Written by: DKAO Staff
Dave Rosenkrance (front), Dakotas Area Manager, and Arden Freitag, Dakotas Deputy Area Manager, tour a Lewis and Clark Regional Water System project construction site.
The silver anniversary celebration for the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System was held during the System's annual membership meeting in Tea, South Dakota. Nearly 130 people from all phases of the System's 25-year history attended the celebration.
Lewis and Clark Regional Water System holds several notable places in Reclamation history to include service area and volume of water delivered.
The project, located in southeast South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa, is the first Reclamation funded project to deliver water outside of Reclamation's 17 Western United States.
At 23.5 million gallons of water per day (MGD), Lewis and Clark Regional Water System is the largest, by volume, rural water system that has been authorized by Congress, and for which Reclamation is responsible for oversight.
Lewis and Clark started as the Southeast South Dakota Water Supply System in April 1990, with anticipated service to 27 communities and 16 rural water systems. This 72-MGD system had an estimated cost of $500-million.
A few years later, Lewis and Clark Rural Water System had a new name, and had 47 members. The system anticipated withdrawing water from Lewis & Clark Lake and treating raw water at four treatment plants spread throughout the system at a cost of $660-million.
By the time the project was authorized in 2000, Lewis and Clark had been reformulated to a 23.5-MGD system of 22 members. The system was designed to withdraw water from the aquifers downstream of Gavins Point Dam south of Vermillion, South Dakota.
In August of 2003, the first official construction using federal funding began, and in August 2012, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the beginning of operations at the system's water treatment plant.
When completed, the system will eventually serve more than 300,000 people in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa.
The project has a Federal/non-Federal cost share of 80/20 percent, respectively. Lewis and Clark will have received $102-million in Federal funds and most of its non-Federal funds, with expected completion in 2025.
25 Years of Milestones
- Late 1988 Discussions begin on need for a regional water system
- Jan 1990 Articles of Incorporation signed for Southeastern South Dakota Water Supply System
- April 1990 First board meeting (56 Members)
- April 1991 Initial feasibility evaluation completed
- June 1991 Name changed to "Lewis and Clark"
- March 1993 Commitment Agreement signed by 22 members
- May 1994 First authorizing legislation introduced in Congress
- March 1995 Future use water permit approved by the State of SD
- Sept 1996 First congressional hearing held on Lewis and Clark
- July 2000 Congressional authorization signed into law
- Aug 2001 First test well drilled
- May 2002 Final Engineering Report completed
- Aug 2003 First official construction using federal funding
- Aug 2003 Groundbreaking ceremony held
- Oct 2003 First production well drilled
- June 2004 First section of raw water pipeline installed
- June 2005 First section of treated water pipeline installed
- March 2006 New Commitment Agreement signed by 20 members
- May 2008 Valve turning ceremony for Hull emergency connection
- Sept 2008 Valve turning ceremony for Tea & Harrisburg emergency connections
- Sept 2008 Construction begins on the treatment plant
- Oct 2009 Construction begins on 85th Street water tower
- Nov 2009 Construction begins on reservoirs near Tea
- May 2010 Construction begins on pump station near Tea
- July 2012 Treatment plant begins operation ~11 members receive water
- Aug 2012 Ribbon cutting ceremony held for treatment plant
- May 2015 25th Annual Membership Meeting
Published on June 17, 2015