Colt Sandoro, who works for the Kanawha County Commission's Planning and Community Development Committee, said West Virginia American Water plans a $400,000 investment in Pratt's local water distribution system, including fire hydrants, reinforcing the main line through town and installing new water meters.
The utility also will pay $427,000 to buy the existing Pratt company out of the water system, which will include paying off debt service on the current plant.
"West Virginia American Water will not take over the existing plant," Sandoro said. "The town of Pratt will still own the current water treatment plant, but it will be retired."
Sandoro said some money for the project -- between $90,000 and $180,000 -- will come from coal severance funds.
"This is an example of the use of coal severance funds in the areas from which they come," Hardy said "This will improve the quality of life in the area for years to come.
"The town needs a special election to approve the new rates, which will probably go down. The water company will also be able to offer technical assistance to the town to keep the water healthy," Hardy said.
In recent years, Pratt sometimes experienced difficulties keeping its water tank full and uncontaminated from chemicals like haloacetic acids, which can cause cancer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Back in January, Fields asked Pratt residents to conserve water after finding low levels in the town's water tank. Fields also warned on potential contamination.
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper has urged Pratt to give up its problematic water system for more than 10 years. The county has already paid for some treatment chemicals to make the water in Pratt safer to use and drink.
Because local and state businesses will be awarded contracts to improve the water system, the project "will also have an economic impact," McIntyre said.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.