The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 5, 2013

CSA will be reimbursed for damage

David Hurst

JOHNSTOWN — The Cambria Somerset Authority will be reimbursed, at least partly, by its insurance company for damage inflicted on its Quemahoning Reservoir intake tower in 2011 during a routine water drawdown.

Cincinnati-based Great American Insurance has notified the board it will cover $82,919 of the cost – a move that would essentially reimburse the authority, which has already spent more than $100,000 to repair gates and other parts of the century-old tower that were broken by parts of a cast-iron gate frame.

CSA manager Earl Waddell called the decision good news, but said the board is still reviewing the matter. He said its experts have assigned different values to the intake tower – and the result could impact the final insurance determination.

Great American evaluated the loss based on both the intake tower and tunnels connected to it, whereas the authority based its calculations on the tower alone, which it had appraised at $1.5 million, he said.

“We’re going to look at that and see where it goes,” Waddell said.

Any payout would be minus a $2,500 deductible, he said.

“Waste gate” frames broke during a November 2011 reservoir drawdown, damaging other gates, a gate stem and the whitewater valve.  

The authority repaired some tower components last year before the 2012 Stonycreek Rendezvous, but other repairs are needed. As is, a small amount of water is released from the tower daily because the authority cannot fully close tower gates.

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