This story was collected as part of a collaborative effort to record the state of American lakes, rivers, and waterways as well an attempt to uncover what water means to Americans. Listen to other stories recorded for the Be Here: Main Street project, a collaboration with the MuseWeb Foundation to record stories from rural America.
"Prior to 1945, Detroit Lakes actually got the water from the lake," says Vernell Roberts of Detroit Lakes Public Utilities. "They researched down by the lake, and they started drilling some test wells. They were down 40-50 feet, and just couldn't find water . . . They kept going; They took a risk. They went through 160 foot of real hard defining clay, and they got into an aquifer . . . There was so much pressure it started shooting 18-20 feet high in the air . . . It has never been exposed to what we understand was any nuclear testing from the 1940s and 1950s."