Missouri American receives state approval to acquire Purcell water and sewer systems

Company came to the city’s assistance in February 2021

Missouri American Water answered Purcell’s call during a time of need when it had no one to operate its water and sewer systems and has now been granted approval to acquire those systems.

The Missouri Public Service Commission noted in its order approving Missouri American Water’s application that in February 2021 the company was contacted for assistance. “Purcell had no certified water or sewer system operator at that time, and was unable to operate its systems in a safe and compliant manner,” said the commission. Certified operators are required by the permit and are necessary for ensuring these systems are operable, providing safe and reliable service, and compliant with the terms of the permit. 

As Missouri American began operating the systems for Purcell, the drinking water disinfection system was not functioning, and the sewer system was discharging wastewater from the plant that was not safe and compliant.

On March 16, 2021, the city entered into an operation and maintenance agreement with Missouri American.

In August 2021, a quarter (26.25%) of Purcell’s registered voters came out to decide whether the city’s water and waste water systems should be sold to Missouri American for $200,000. 

The outcome was definitely one-sided (93.65%), with 59 yes votes and only 4 no votes.

The commission determined that approving the application would promote the public interest.

Current customers pay different water rates based upon whether they reside inside the city. Those residing inside the city pay a monthly customer charge of $15 and a $3.50 per 1,000 gallons. Those residing outside the city pay a $22.00 a month customer charge and a $6 per 1,000 gallons. 

Sewer customers pay $36.00 for the first 0-999 gallons and $5 per each additional 1,000 gallons.

Missouri American proposed combining all customers and consolidating rates because there are no additional costs to providing service inside or outside the city. 

As a result, water customers will pay a $9 a month customer charge and a $6.2469 per 1,000 gallons.

Sewer customers will pay a flat monthly rate of $61.64 for sewer service.

There are 160 water accounts and 150 sewer accounts.