Newington Offices Closed Because They Cannot Turn on Heat

Several Newington town offices were closed on Monday because town officials cannot turn on the heat until crews finish cleaning up after a sewer pipe ruptured last week.

Newington Town Hall, the Board of Education administrative offices, the Board of Education Transition Academy and the local offices of the Central Connecticut Health District, at 131 Cedar Street, were all closed today because temperatures inside were too cold for staff and members of the public.

Town Hall employees who work directly out of town hall were told not to report to work, while Board of Education employees and Central Connecticut Health District employees were told to check with their immediate supervisor.

Officials said the town’s heating system is fine, but the sewer lateral rupture last week is in an area that also houses the town’s steam heating lines, so they could not fire up the boilers until crews finish cleaning up.

Crews were able to repair the ruptured pipe over the weekend, but still need to remove solid waste from the site and officials said turning on the heating system would put the workers at risk and cause an unsafe working environment.

"On Thursday, October 15, 2015, we identified a ruptured sewer lateral that required an emergency repair. Town Hall was closed on Friday, October 16, 2015, so that work could begin. Outside contractors and town hall staff worked throughout the weekend to make the necessary repairs," Newington officials said on the town's website.  "The tunnel and pipe chase areas that the crews are working in, also house the heating pipes that contain pressurized steam. While the workers are in this area it would be unsafe to operate the boilers. Without heat, last night’s freezing temperature caused inside room temperatures to drop to low of 47 degrees in some parts of the building with an average of 50 degrees. As a result, a decision was made to close town."

While offices were closed, some people did show up at town hall to drop off forms and food at the food bank, only to find a note that the offices were closed.

No hunting licenses were sold or food bank donations accepted, and one man couldn't find out what the assessor thinks of his property.

"I want to find out how much they're ripping me off," joked Mike Forcash.

The Board of Education was also closed but the police department was open.

Authorities said they couldn't turn on the heat in the building til after Roto-Rooter's Crew removed solid waste from the site of last week's sewer pipe rupture. Town employees plan to turn the boilers on after the cleanup is completed.

Offices are expected to reopen on Tuesday.

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