Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

August 14, 2013

Leaky valves plague Effingham County Government Center

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — The Effingham County Government Center has only been in use for six years. But the county's maintenance supervisor told a county board committee Wednesday that the building is plagued with numerous leaky valves that are causing water to seep into ceiling tiles, particularly on the first and third floors of the courts building.

Tony Hille told the Buildings and Grounds Committee that the total cost of replacing the valves could be well more than $1,000. Hille said the valves are priced at $80 each, with labor estimated at $500 to $600.

The valves are used to pump hot water into the building's heating system. Hille said 13 valves are leaking, with several other valves showing signs of corrosion.

Hille said the first and third floor both have six leaky valves, while the second floor only has one such valve.

"There's a lot of water up there," he said.

Hille said the problem could stem from bad valves, damage from the chemicals used to run the system, or even bad workmanship. He cautioned that it would be hard to prove the latter.

Hille said he wasn't comfortable with his staff replacing the valves themselves.

"I don't want to be responsible for the soldering that would be needed," he said. "I really don't think you want a bunch of janitors get up there to do that."

Hille said the situation has not become an emergency and that the building's heating system is still operating.

Board Chairman Jim Niemann said there could be another type of valve used to replace the faulty ones. But board member Joe Thoele wondered whether those valves would work on water at temperatures of up to 180 degrees.

Committee Chairman Lloyd Foster directed Hille to investigate the issue further.

"Check on those valves, and we'll go from there," the chairman said.

"We should ask about any options we have and how much they should cost," Thoele added.