A Roanoke developer is interested in building nearly 50 units of moderate-income housing in Purcellville, but the plan could be crippled by the town's chronic water problems.

It will be November before the Loudoun County community learns if the state will fund half of the $427,000 it will cost to rebuild water mains that have corroded. Right now the pipes' condition regularly turns county tap water the color of iced tea. Meanwhile, developer Fred Burlington recently approached town officials with a plan to construct dozens of multifamily units near Loudoun Valley High School.

"The town has no residential units like these now, and the housing could bring in some extra revenue for Purcellville," said Town Manager Barry R. Lawrence.

If Burlington secures financing from a federal housing agency, he may build one-bedroom apartments that would rent for $190 a month and three-bedroom units that would cost tenants $235 monthly. The rents do not include utility costs.

Burlington has built similar developments in Manassas Park and Laurel and was drawn to Purcellville because the town has at least one attractive site for such a project, Lawrence said.

"The ongoing water problems could hold this development up, but the building could also help the situation," he added. Taxes from the project and improved water lines to the development could give Purcellville enough money to initiate a comprehensive water improvement program.