"I'll be one tickled man when we get this water situation figured out," Fields said.
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said he met with West Virginia American Water officials last week and the ball is now in their court. If the company makes a proposal to buy the town's water plant, it would then be put up for a vote for Pratt residents to decide. The County Commission has set aside money to pay for attorney and legal fees and money for the election, Carper said.
The water company is private and is regulated by the state Public Service Commission.
Carper said he's been hammering Pratt to give up its troubled water plant for more than a decade. The county pays for some of the water treatment chemicals and is making payments on an employment bill the town owes, he said. West Virginia American Water already buys water from the town of Pratt to serve customers in the Paint Creek area.
In June, residents received notices that the level of haloacetic acids in their drinking water had exceeded federal limits for more than a year. The average level of acids in the water averaged about 66 parts per billion over a series of four quarterly samples, but haloacetic acid levels had been as high as 110 parts per billion. Federal limits on the acid levels are 60 parts per billion.
In October, an audit of the town's government revealed the water plant was $375,000 in debt.
"They are listening to me now because they don't have a choice," Carper said.
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.