Much of Lynn Center still waiting for water after Sunday break


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Originally Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2012, 5:00 pm
Last Updated: Nov. 29, 2012, 9:25 pm
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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com

Water should return to 36 households in Lynn Center again on Saturday after a railroad company and the local water association reached a compromise on a $10 million question.

Last Sunday, a broken water main under BNSF railroad tracks that run through Lynn Center cut off water to all but six households in the Henry County village about three miles west of Andover.

The Lynn Center Water Association, a private corporation in which locals hold shares, moved quickly to restore the water supply.

But BNSF officials said the association would need $10 million in liability insurance before it could allow repairs to the busted main on the company's property.

Kathy Etheridge, who volunteers for the association with her husband Stuart, said insurance companies were unwilling to cover the association, which pumps water from an underground well, because of its small size.

BNSF officials at the company's headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, had difficulty understanding the water association's problems with the insurance companies, Ms. Etheridge said.

"The railroad people were not being deliberately mean in fact they were very patient," she said. "It's just very difficult for big city people to understand what a little tiny burg this is."

In the end, BNSF agreed to waive the $10 million rule and to leave the insurance question unanswered until a later date after water is restored.

Amy McBeth, a BNSF spokeswoman, said the company reached a compromise on the insurance requirement -- a rule she said is in place to protect all parties -- because of the water emergency.

Brandt Construction of Milan had arrived on the scene last Monday, Ms. Etheridge said, but could not start digging without the BNSF's permission. A water main also had to be ordered from St. Louis to replace the broken section.

Machinery was in place by the end of the week and digging was due to start Friday with the water expected to be restored by Saturday.

Lynn Center Township Supervisor Sheldon Larson was one of the residents forced to go without running water. He had to fill buckets of water and take them home, like the other villagers.

"It's a little inconvenient but this builds a deep appreciation for something you normally take for granted," he said.

The broken water main was likely installed in 1957, Ms. Etheridge said. Most of the water mains in the village were replaced in 2009, she added, but at that time the association discovered the insurance requirement and could not replace the section that runs under the BNSF tracks.

"We knew there was a nightmare out there waiting to haunt us," Ms. Etheridge said.



















 



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