DULUTH — City Hall will remain closed until further notice due to plumbing problems that emerged Wednesday when a contractor while removing ductwork accidentally cut a water line above it that was feeding the water heater for the third and fourth floor bathrooms.
The building’s heating, cooling and ventilation systems will be overhauled as part of a $12 million project paid for with federal pandemic relief funds. The work will improve ventilation, address long-standing air quality issues and bring centralized air conditioning to the 94-year-old building for the first time.
“It is not known how much water was discharged, but the amount was enough to cause a basement buildup,” said Kelli Latuska, a public information officer for the city of Duluth.
She said staff initially thought the sprinkler system was leaking, but discovered the root cause within an hour.
“At this point, the greatest risk of damage is excessive hidden moisture in the (mechanical) chase and damage to the stone and ornaments in a small section of the rotunda,” Latuska said.
She explained that the building will not be usable until the toilets and sprinkler system are restored.