Water in the Children’s Room causing minor issues; Update on drainage work

by beth on August 12, 2019

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Above: The Children’s Room got wet last week, but not like last September. (photo contributed)

Last Wednesday night’s thunderstorm and torrential rain led to water in the Children’s Room again. Unlike last summer’s flood which led to a six month closure of the downstairs, the Children’s Room was in good enough shape to be reopened the same day. And it appears the rest of the downstairs wasn’t impacted.

Library Director Ryan Donovan explained the situation, warning that there may be more times when the room needs to be closed while repairs are made:

Lightning from the storm on the evening of August 7th caused a power surge in the library’s electrical system. This caused the sump pump in the library’s mechanical room to fail. Ground water overflowed, flooded the mechanical room, and affected a small area in the Children’s Room – specifically the Children’s Librarian’s office and underneath the Picture Book area A through H against the wall.

The Town of Southborough’s Facilities Dept. and ServiceMaster responded immediately. Water remediation is underway. We expect the Children’s Room to be fully back up and functional by the end of the week. The Children’s Room may be closed periodically while ServiceMaster is working, please call the library at 508-485-5031 and/or check the library’s Facebook page for real time updates.

For those of you wondering what the Town is doing to reduce future flood risk. . .

There is work that is in process and other work that was just contracted out earlier this month.

In the spring, Town Meeting voters approved spending $250K on a Library Basement Waterproofing project:

This article will provide funds to be used toward the implementation of engineering firm recommendations on how to minimize the possibility of future flooding issues within the lower level of the Library as well as equipment necessary to implement these mitigation efforts. Funding amount is a ceiling and further estimates and recommendations may reduce
the amount requested;

That funding was approved for the fiscal year that started on July 1st. An RFP was posted on July 3rd for some of the drainage work under that project. That included the installation of a new sump pump:

Specifications include, but are not limited to: Furnishing all labor, materials, equipment, and incidentals to install new storm drain, building drains, sump pumps and miscellaneous surface and drainage improvements. Additional scope items and details on the work to be performed are provided in the contract documents.

Three bids were received. On August 1st, the Board of Selectmen approved Joseph P Cardillo & Son, Inc. of Wakefield’s low bid of $59,995.

Other funds under the Article were to tie in drainage needed for the Library into drainage work being done on the Main Street Reconstruction project.

Last spring, when selectmen discussed the capital budget ask, Town Administer Mark Purple clarified that the work couldn’t fully eliminate the risk for more flooding in the Library. It just reduces the risks and liabilities. He reminded the board and committee that the Library is sited at the bottom of a hill. He explained that whenever the water accumulates in the parking lot, there’s a flood risk.

As you can see when you drive in the area, drainage work along the street that began this spring is still in progress. Part of the needed fix is also the installation of curbs along the road to assist in directing water from running to the parking lot. As of April 1st, Public Works expected that work to begin in late summer to early fall.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Arborist August 12, 2019 at 8:35 PM

A sump pump is useless unless there is back up power to run it, Has anyone looked into installing a generator? When the grid goes down , the generator will kick in, there for no flooding, where are the generators going from the old police and fire stations? I hope the town don’t leave them there.

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2 Richard August 12, 2019 at 11:31 PM

As long as the side entrance to the library’s lower level from the parking lot is not raised up a step, flooding is inevitable.

Since the entry can’t be raised, it would seem that it’s necessary to lower the parking lot by about seven inches and install suitable drainage.

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