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Library reopens after weeklong closure due to busted roof drain pipe

Library staff and patrons used waste baskets and whatever containers they could find to collect that poured into the Hudson Area Joint Library when a drain pipe busted during a downpour Thursday afternoon, May. 8. (Submitted photo)1 / 4
The water poured into the building from an interior 8-inch PVC pipe that came loose from a roof drain. (Submitted photo)2 / 4
The library's collection of children's mystery books was damaged by the water and will need to be replaced. (Submitted photo)3 / 4
Holes were cut into the bases of interior walls to allow the moisture to escape. (Submitted photo)4 / 4

The Hudson Area Joint Library reopened on Thursday, May 15, after being closed for a week because of an interior drain pipe that came loose during a rainstorm.

“The water just gushed into the library. It was just like a waterfall,” Library Director Linda Donaldson reported.

The water came in from a roof drain above a room where the library’s collection of children’s mystery books is housed, and continued down through the floor and walls to a storage room on the first floor.

Hudson Public Works Director Tom Zeuli said Donaldson reported the problem to him in a phone call at about 4 p.m. Thursday, May 8.

When Zeuli arrived, the library staff and patrons were doing their best to vacuum and collect the water in containers.

Zeuli, meanwhile, had called Troy Thompson of The Garland Co., the contractor that installed a new membrane roof on the library/police building a year ago. The five-ply roof and related interior repairs cost $381,000.

Thompson happened to be in the area and joined Zeuli at the city-owned building at corner of Vine and First streets.

They located a fitting on an 8-inch PVC pipe below a roof drain that had come apart and was spilling water into the building.

Thompson and Zeuli were able to temporarily reconnect the pipe, and the next morning a plumbing contractor made the final repairs.

The city’s property insurance company called a restoration company to come in Friday morning, May 9, and start the process of drying out the building.

Donaldson said the restoration crew used fans and dehumidifiers to do the work. The crew also drilled holes along the base of interior walls to draw out the moisture.

In a Thursday, May 15, news release, Donaldson said the carpeting and walls have been tested and are now free of moisture.

Donaldson credited teenagers who were attending a meeting at the library when the pipe broke with helping prevent worse damage to the building, books and furnishings.

“The water kept pouring in and mops and garbage cans were used to collect the water quickly to minimize water damage to library furnishings,” Donaldson wrote.

She said some furnishings were damaged and will need to be repaired or replaced.

The whole collection of children’s mystery books was damaged and titles are being replaced, Donaldson reported.

City officials didn’t fault The Garland Co. for the flooding.

The drain pipe that came apart was inside the building, Zueli noted. He said the company had pressure tested the interior drain pipes after installing the new roof.

Zeuli said the pipe broke during a downpour of about 2 inches of rain.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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