Pump trouble points up other problems at QCMC

  • Jun. 27, 2003 6:00 p.m.

Equipment problems-$14,000 worth- took a big bite out of Queen Charlotte’s water maintenance budget this spring, and money from its capital reserve is required to pay the bill.
While sorting out the mess, management committee members and regional district administrator Janet Beil learned that Queen Charlotte’s insurance coverage needs improvement, and an equipment reserve is needed in next year’s budget.
The trouble began in early February, when maintenance workers dropped a pump, worth about $2,700, down well #3 as they were trying to install it.
Workers install new pumps by attaching them to a threaded pipe, screwing together more lengths of pipe and lowering the pump down the well. About half way through, one of the pipe joints broke and the pump and pipe fell to the bottom of the well. When workers tried to retrieve them, they managed to pull up the pipe, but the pump had broken off and could not be pulled up.
A new pump was ordered and installed, but the company shipped the wrong motor, which quickly burned out. The supplier was at fault and will cover the cost of a new one, but the warranty doesn’t cover labour, says QCMC chair Ron McKee.
Workers then installed the third pump, which has been working fine for about a month, according to Mr. McKee.
At first the committee believed the pump’s loss was covered by insurance, but have since discovered problems with the insurance coverage. Office manager Debra Uliana says the insurance company only covers certain types of damage. The pump must be sent to the company’s office in Vancouver for inspection. However, the pump cannot be recovered, and even if it could, the freight costs to get it there would be about $700.
As well as working with Queen Charlotte’s insurance broker to improve coverage, the regional district plans to make some changes to how the budget is written. Regional district administrator Janet Beil says “We have reserve accounts, but I would like to set them up as water and sewer infrastructure accounts and a third, smaller budget for equipment replacement. The reason why I’m doing this is that we have a new committee over there, and I’d like to be able to sit down and go over how money is spent and managed. I’d like to be able to clearly show where money is going, so people know the regional district isn’t just hording money.”