Drainage an issue at Wilton library

WILTON – There is again a drainage problem at the Wilton Public-Gregg Free Library. The lower level has flooded three times in the last couple of years.

“Last March there was a serious flood, the third time in the almost four years I’ve been here. We need to get the drain done,” Library Director Pat Frickett and members of the Board of Trustees told selectmen on Monday, Oct. 27.

She said they met with Director of Public Works Steve Elliott, “who had some recommendations for a perimeter drain. How do we make that happen?” she asked. “It looks logical to me that there will be more problems this winter” with storms and snow.

Elliott said that in 2008 or 2009 “we ran a trunk line to Route 31, but I don’t believe drains were placed around the building.” Any pipes there could be as old as the building, he said. The library was built in 1908.

The solution, Elliott said, is to dig to the bottom of the building, seal the foundation stones, and install new perimeter drains.

Former Selectman Richard Rockwood said there have been several attempts to put in drains, “but somehow they never got connected to (the drains) along Route 31.” Crossing a state highway presents various problems.

The trustees said, although the library is autonomous in running the facility, “the building belongs to the town.”

Selectman Chairman Bill Condra said, “The town has some responsibility for it, and we have to find (the drainage line) in an emergency situation.”

Elliott said there were several “possible solutions” in the short term, “but they are all expensive.”

Asked if the highway department could do the work, Elliott said he did not have the equipment to work on the steep slope above Route 31.

It was agreed that the current drains are not functioning properly, whether from old age, blockage, or poor connections.

Selectmen asked Elliott to look into several possibilities for an interim, short-term solution, and come up with costs, for connecting the drains.

With figures, Selectman Kermit Williams said, “we can put it into the budget and prepare a warrant article for town meeting.”

Elliott said he would have some answers for the next meeting.

Former Road Agent Charlie McGettigan said the problem “Probably dates to work done on the drains about 20 years ago.” There is a “large rock on the lawn” that was not removed, he said. “It should have been blasted.” Instead, drains go around or over it.

He also said that sewer work done near the neighboring Masonic Temple could have “broken off a drain pipe,” and the accident not corrected.