Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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September 10, 2013

UPDATE: Courthouse leak stopped, business to return to normal Wednesday

Corsicana — A major water leak on the third floor led Navarro County Judge H.M. Davenport to close the 108-year-old courthouse building Tuesday, causing county business to come to a halt, for the most part. A few employees braved the heat and no running water as the main line into the building had to be shut off to contain the leak Monday evening.

A little before 6 p.m. Tuesday, Davenport declared the issue resolved business as usual Wednesday.

“There is always a water leak somewhere,” Davenport said Tuesday morning as he poured over original blueprints, hoping to find a schematic for piping.

“But not one of this magnitude, where we’ve had to shut the courthouse down.”

Plumbers and county personnel worked until about 10 p.m. Monday trying to repair the line break, which occurred in a restroom in the Adult Probation office. Davenport made the call soon afterward to close the building.

Tuesday morning, Davenport was simply trying to find a way to cap the rusted pipe, which is nestled in sand or dirt between two layers of concrete. The work continued into Tuesday evening.

“There is no isolation valve to turn the water off just to that part of the building,” Courthouse Maintenance Supervisor James Kirk said. “You have to cut it off to the whole building.”

The leak was originally discovered Friday, Davenport said, when it was just beginning to drip in an area near a toilet. An attempt to isolate the leak was made then, Davenport said.

It became worse, and by Monday evening, the outside wall on the west of the courthouse was a darker hue than the rest of the building because it was saturated.

Plumbers were able to trace a line down to the first floor, and were able to cap it there, allowing water flow to be restored.

The restroom in question, as well as another on the second floor in the district attorney’s office, will remain inoperable for the time being. In order to have toilet service again, Davenport said, new copper piping may have to be routed to that area.

Kirk said the leak was simply par for the course for the old building.

“When a building is this old,” Kirk said, “she starts telling you, ‘I’m hurting.’ We’ve got problems we need to address.

“If the pipe is that old in that part of the building, it’s that old in the rest of it.”

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