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Pretty Prairie wrestles with how to pay for clean water

PRETTY PRAIRIE, Kansas - The town of Pretty Prairie in Reno County is facing a $4 million bill just to ensure safe drinking water.

It's money that town leaders insist the farming community simply does not have.

According to the EPA, nitrate levels are nearly double what's allowed by the law.

In a town of 680 people and 300 homes, Pretty Prairie must figure out how to pay the hefty price tag for clean drinking water.

Residents gathered at Monday's meeting to express their concerns.

"It makes a lot more sense to try to keep the nitrates out of the water instead of spending a lot of money the city doesn't have," said Ed Markel, Pretty Prairie resident.

"We think there's probably a more cost effective way to remove the nitrate problem then to spend $2.5 million on an ionization plant," added Robert Krehbiel, Pretty Prairie resident.

The city provides water to about 300 homes, and many already use bottled water to drink and cook.

It is something the school district says needs to be raised.

"Issues related to this, as far as the water, can affect school district as well people's perception whether it's safe change the way we do things and preparing food. Yes, I think eventually will be facing some changes," said Brad Wade, USD 311 Superintendent.

At a town meeting Monday night, the city council considered three options, all involving increases in water bills, but made no final decisions.

 

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