Flooding closes Montesano library

Sewer line was “packed with paper towels,” release states.

The Montesano library is closed until further notice. And it could be weeks before Timberland Regional Library knows when it can reopen.

The W.H. Abel Montesano Library experienced flooding Dec. 11, according to a TRL release.

“The main sewer line backed up in both restrooms,” the release states. “The sewer line was packed with paper towels which caused overflow out into the hallway, throughout the library, out the front doors, and also into the return air system.”

Because of the way the plumbing is connected, rainwater that fell on the roof of the building from that day’s storms filled the sewer line and came out through the library’s bathrooms into the building, TRL Facilities Manager LG Nelson said last week. He also said that asbestos found in the building around the area of the leak would have to be removed. A company from Centralia would be doing that work. TRL is in the process of obtaining the proper permitting to do the work.

“The collection is safe, however the service desk was damaged. The walls around the restrooms will need to have sheetrock removed up to the four foot mark due to bacterial (moisture) damage. The floors will need to be taken up and repaired or sealed. Additional damages need to be assessed and a timeline will be determined based on our bid process and repair work needed,” the release states.

Jeff Kleingartner, the library system’s communications manager, said Dec. 12 that they are just beginning the cleanup process.

“As far as restoring back to reopening it, we’re not sure yet, because it just happened yesterday,” he said. “Hopefully within the next couple weeks, we’ll have a better idea about when we can reopen.” TRL expects to make an announcement no later than Jan. 2.

Crews from ServPro and Harbor Rooter have been at work at the library, removing debris and clearing the sewer line.

The building was built in 1960 to be the headquarters of the Grays Harbor Rural Library District, according the the TRL website.

“It’s our only library in a city where we own it because many decades ago, the library (building) was either given or sold to Timberland. Timberland Regional Library is responsible for repairs and maintenance. It’s our responsibility, we’re working as fast as we can to figure it out,” Kleingartner said.

TRL is redirecting holds for patrons to other libraries. If borrowers have an item that is available that was put on hold, they should call 800-562-6022 and TRL staff can redirect the hold to another branch, such as Elma or Hoquiam, where the borrower can pick it up.