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Lewis & Clark begins producing water near Vermillion

TEA, S.D. -- Lewis & Clark reached a historic milestone Monday when it began producing water from a treatment plant near Vermillion, S.D. for distribution to 11 of its 20 member cities and rural water systems.

The project, incorporated in January 1990, has been 22 years in the making.

"With our members unfortunately experiencing critical water needs in the face of a crushing drought, we are extremely pleased that Lewis & Clark is able to begin producing water just in the nick of time," said board chairman Red Arndt of Luverne. "This project has been an enormous undertaking. Words cannot express the range of emotions of finally reaching this point."

The 11 members receiving water include the South Dakota cities of Sioux Falls, Beresford, Centerville, Harrisburg, Lennox, Parker, Tea, the Lincoln County RWS, Minnehaha Community Water Corporation (MCWC), South Lincoln RWS and Rock Rapids, Iowa. For MCWC and Rock Rapids, service is only to one of their two connections.

"For these eleven members, this is a huge day and we are very happy for them and Lewis & Clark as a whole. We don't want to take anything away from the significance and excitement of this day. However, be assured we continue to work tirelessly to ensure the remaining nine members are connected as soon as possible," said Arndt.

In addition to the second connections for MCWC and Rock Rapids, the members who will not be connected include Madison, S.D., Hull, Sheldon, Sibley and Sioux Center in Iowa, Luverne, Worthington, Lincoln Pipestone RWS and Rock County RWD.

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the Vermillion plant is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, August 21, the nine year anniversary of Lewis & Clark's groundbreaking.