Burst pipe damages documents at town hall

WILTON – A steam pipe in the north end of Town Hall burst at some point late last week, flooding the planning board storage closet.

The flooding was noticed when water spread outside the closet.

“There was quite a bit of damage,” Town Administrator Scott Butcher told selectmen on Monday. “It was leaking into the planning board file cabinets.”

On Monday, ropes had been strung across the courtroom and subdivision maps were hung up to dry like so much laundry.

Butcher said the damage required the removal of walls back to the stone outer walls and stripping the inner walls to the studs.

“There was damage to flooring that will have to be removed and the carpeting was stripped out,” said Butcher, who said about two-thirds of the floor was affected.

That section of Town Hall is slated for renovation, if approved at Town Meeting in March, but it will be mostly unusable until repairs are made.

“There is no point in fixing it until after the warrant article” is acted on by Town Meeting, Butcher said.

The damage to the files prompted a discussion of proper storage of town records.

“We need flat storage for maps,” Selectman Kermit Williams said. “Cardboard tubes just aren’t that good.”

“And they wet through,” Butcher said.

Williams suggested that Butcher “put together a records committee to decide what to do with all this stuff and determine what we can dispose of. We need much better organization.”

He added, “Official documents need to be secure.”

State statutes require town records to be kept for varying numbers of years. The committee could also research where files could be stored during the planned reconstruction of the space.

The need for climate control, especially humidity, was also stressed.

Butcher said they were still “estimating and determining” the damage caused by the leak. The insurance adjuster was expected to tour the site on Tuesday.