Insurance Issues Keep Water Repairs On Hold In Lynn Center - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Insurance Issues Keep Water Repairs On Hold In Lynn Center

Updated: Nov 28, 2012 06:17 PM CST
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Most residents of Lynn Center, Ill., have had no running water since Sunday, after a water main break cut off water to the east side of the village.

The broken water main runs under the BNSF railroad tracks that split the hamlet.

With east side faucets dry residents have been filling buckets at the well while the Lynn Center Water Association tries to get the main fixed.

It's an insurance issue.

The water association has a construction company lined up to replace the broken water main.

Before it can start work, the railroad requires the association to carry $10 million in liability insurance.

The water association president says he can only get one million dollars in coverage.

He doesn't understand why no one will sell him a policy to get the water flowing again.

While Lynn Center lives with the sounds of passing trains every day, a new sound has joined in, the sound of water filling buckets.

"It's a struggle, we just carry it by gallon jugs, can't carry anything heavier," says 79-year-old Jim Peterson.

Peterson and his wife Lois live on the wrong side of the tracks now. No water flows to their side of town. It's stress Peterson says he doesn't want.

"We both have bad backs," says Peterson.

Getting the water flowing again has been Water Association President Stuart Etheridge's motivation for days now. As a retired general contractor, he's dealt with liability insurance before.

"Call up the insurance company, tell 'em what I need, send 'em a check, doesn't work this way with the water association," says Etheridge.

The railroad says the water association needs 10 million dollars in liability coverage before the water main can be fixed. Etheridge has called 25 different companies. Nobody has said yes.

"I don't know if we're just too small, nobody can tell me why they won't do this insurance," says Etheridge.

This is not the first time Etheridge has run into this problem. He couldn't get the insurance three years ago when the water association replaced all the water mains. All the ones except the pipe under the tracks.

"There's no well system of our size that has general liability, and supposedly cannot be purchased," says Etheridge.

It's a problem that has the Peterson's heading to their daughter's Wednesday night. While they wait for the railroad to give the go ahead.

"It's just frustrating, and we always thought you should drill a well over here, but it's a small town so you can't afford that neither," says Peterson.

Etheridge tells KWQC the BNSF roadmaster has authorized an emergency dig.

That will allow the pipe to get fixed while the water association continues looking for insurance coverage to satisfy the railroad.

Repairs are expected to start on the water pipe Friday.

The construction company estimates it'll be a two day job.

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