Westchester Library declares emergency to replace boiler

2014-03-01T17:55:00Z 2014-03-01T20:07:17Z Westchester Library declares emergency to replace boilerJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

CHESTERTON | The Westchester Public Library may have cornered the market on Stop Leak.

The sealant is what has gotten its nearly 40-year-old boiler at Thomas Library  through the winter.

Library Director Phil Baugher said the boiler sprang its latest leak earlier this month. The bottom is badly rusted, he said.

At a meeting this past week, the Library Board approved deeming the situation an emergency, allowing Baugher to replace the aging boiler without going through a formal bidding process. Instead, he will seek quotes for the project.

The cost is estimated between $50,000 and $100,000, he said. The district has the funds in its 2014 budget, but it is a significant expense when officials are unsure of total tax collections and the affects of the circuit breaker.

Baugher said he has contacted a few companies and received a good response about the replacement, except, with this year's harsh winter, there aren't a lot of boilers on hand. Once it's ordered, it could take several weeks before it is installed.

Baugher said there is no choice but for the library system to bite the bullet and replace the boiler, which is original to the building constructed in 1975.

Baugher said the boiler was first operated on well water which caused the pipes to be clogged a few years ago. That problem was resolved when lake water was made available.

He said they've been putting Stop Leak in the boiler and have reduced the amount of pressure on which it is operated.

"We think we can nurse it through the winter season," he said, adding the mechanic left them with an extra supply of Stop Leak just in case.

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