Eureka privatizes city water system, sells it to Missouri American Water

EUREKA – The city of Eureka finalized a deal earlier this week to sell its water system to Missouri American Water, a private company. 

The purchase totaled $28 million and included the promise that Missouri American Water (MAW) would invest $37 million in Eureka’s water and wastewater systems over the next five years. 

For years, residents of Eureka have complained about the city’s water quality, claiming that not only does it taste bad, but is also corrosive. Many residents have reported the water ruining their dishwashers and water heaters, which led to 66% of Eureka residents in 2020 voting in favor of a ballot measure to sell the water system.

The deal had reportedly been in the works for years with delays caused by regulators and negotiations about the price. The price tag will be paid by MAW’s existing customers, as they will see their water bills increase.

MAW is owned by American Water Works, whose business plan is to acquire and improve struggling water systems across the country. In fact, from 2010 to 2020, the company invested over $1 billion in water utilities – and it plans to triple that amount in the next 10 years. 

Privately owned water has become more common in Missouri than in most of the U.S. Currently, about 350,000 people in the St. Louis area are served by private water, which works out to about 25% of the population. Only about 10% of the U.S. population has privately owned water. 

A new water pipeline will be built in Eureka starting this winter that will pump water from the St. Louis County water source directly to Eureka. 

“We know that building the connection to our drinking water system in St. Louis County, which draws from the Missouri River instead of groundwater wells, is a top priority for Eureka residents and businesses,” MAW Senior Director of Operations Brian Eisenloeffel told Fox 2 News. “We’ve completed the initial engineering work, and now we’re excited to move forward with the construction phase of the project.” 

More information on Missouri American Water can be found here

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