Rather than an intake pipe protruding into the Missouri River, a series of wells tapping into an adjacent aquifer that is recharged by the river will be used. The primary wells will be located in an area known as Mulberry Point, which is part of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Park's Frost Game Production Area, just west of the Vermillion-Newcastle Bridge. Secondary wells will be located a couple miles to the west.
Seven wells have been constructed to date, with an estimated combined capacity of 17 million gallons per day. Four of these are angle wells and three are vertical. The wells will produce more than initial engineering estimates.
Construction on additional well facilities (pump houses, vaults, piping & roads) and river bank stabilization began in October 2007. The well facilities and bank stabilization are part of a $5,497,000 contract awarded in September 2007 to Welfl Construction of Yankton. Substantial completion was reached in August 2008.
The bank stabilization, which protects the wells from erosion, utilized a unique and environmentally friendly "vegetated stone toe revetment." Instead of "armoring" the river bank with exposed rock rip rap, the steep river bank was sloped, rock rip rap was placed and the rock was then covered with soil and planted to vegetation. 118,000 willows, cottonwoods and dogwoods were planted, along with native grasses. The result is a much more natural looking river bank along this designated section of "Recreational River." Lake Region Contracting of Spicer, MN, was the subcontractor on the bank stabilization.
In May 2009, the bank stabilization project received national recognition. The distinguished "Partners in Conservation" award was presented to Lewis & Clark by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar at a ceremony in Washington, DC.
To reach Lewis & Clark's deliverable capacity of 45 million gallons a day, an estimated 17 to 19 wells will be needed. The 45 MGD represents less than 3/10ths of 1% of the average daily flow of the Missouri River.
For more detailed information on the wells, see the Final Engineering Report under the Technical Information link.