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Courthouse left high and dry following plumbing leak

A City of Grangeville work crew stopped a pipe at the Idaho County Courthouse from leaking last Thursday, Oct. 20.

Photo by Andrew Ottoson
A City of Grangeville work crew stopped a pipe at the Idaho County Courthouse from leaking last Thursday, Oct. 20.



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Jason Wisdom, Grangeville Public Works Department, displays the corroded part responsible for last week’s courthouse leak issue.

— Restrooms at the Idaho County Courthouse were out of service Thursday, Oct. 20, while a City of Grangeville work crew dug a hole in the west edge of the courthouse lawn in search of a leaky bit of plumbing. The problem first emerged with water flowing into Main Street at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and was temporarily fixed Wednesday only to reemerge Thursday morning.

By 1 p.m. Thursday, the city crew – Jason Wisdom doing the dirty work with a shovel in the hole, and several others on hand topside to operate a pump and a backhoe – had located the problem part. The leak was stopped after Wisdom cut out the corroded part of a joint where galvanized pipe teed into a copper line. Idaho County Commissioner Skip Brandt, who was present for the county, said such joints are prone to corrosion.

Corrosion between galvanized and copper pipe is a common problem the city crew sees around Grangeville. To prevent this type of corrosion, plumbers typically separate copper pipe from galvanized pipe with a part known as a dielectric union.

Having to shut the water off while the repair was made inconvenienced as many as 55 county employees and as many as seven inmates in the county jail, as well as citizens who might have needed to use a restroom before or after using civil services, such as early voting.

Idaho County Clerk Kathy Ackerman said she fielded no complaints, but “did see a guy walking into the women’s restroom even though it was clearly marked ‘out of order.’

The courthouse restrooms were restored to order shortly after the leak was stopped last Thursday and repair was anticipated to be complete Oct. 25.



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