Pratt water takeover nearly complete

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A $437,000 takeover of the Pratt water system by West Virginia American Water Co. becomes final this week with the opening of a new 1.7-mile pipeline connecting the town and surrounding area with West Virginia American Water's existing water lines.State, county and town officials will join company officials for a valve-turning ceremony at 2 p.m. Thursday to open the final valve connecting Pratt to the existing water system.Kanawha County officials have been trying to talk town officials into abandoning Pratt's dilapidated water plant for a decade. In recent years, the water plant has had increasing trouble keeping up with stricter water treatment regulations.Pratt voters approved the takeover in June, and the state Public Service Commission signed off on the deal in July. West Virginia American Water agreed to pay about $400,000 for the existing water system and upgrades that include new fire hydrants and water meters. West Virginia American also built a new pipeline across the Kanawha River to tie the town of Pratt into the company's existing water lines.The Kanawha County Commission also contributed $180,000 to the deal to help pay off Pratt's outstanding debts.Pratt's failing water plant will be shut down permanently under the agreement.
The takeover will provide water to Pratt, Hansford, Crown Hill and Paint Creek and add about 450 new customers to West Virginia American Water's base of about 171,000 families, according to water company spokeswoman Laura Jordan.Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper, who for years had pushed for the takeover, was happy the deal was finally complete. "Finally, clean water," he said.West Virginia American President Jeff McIntyre said the deal will mean better water and service reliability for customers."We appreciate the ongoing support of residents, town officials and the Kanawha County Commission in this endeavor," McIntyre said. "Without the significant financial contribution to the town's debt obligations by the Kanawha County Commission, this transaction would not have been possible."Reach Rusty Marks at or 304-348-1215. 
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