BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
Greene County officials are mopping up -- and assessing the damage from -- a significant water break that has flooded portions of the Courthouse Annex.
A clean-water supply line to a sink in the Register of Deeds Office broke on Thursday evening, likely after the offices had closed for the day, according to County Maintenance Director Russell Kinser.
He said that the leak was not discovered until maintenance supervisor Melvin Seaton came in on Friday morning, at which time maintenance crews immediately set to work stopping the leak and beginning cleanup.
"It sounded like Niagra Falls!" Seaton said.
By the time Seaton found the leak on Friday the water was "shoe-sole deep in the deepest places and all the way back," Kinser said.
He added that the break was likely caused by simple aging of the pipe.
Register of Deeds Joy Rader said on Tuesday that all the records for her office are safe, despite her office being the source of the leak.
"Most of the damage was on the floor," she said. "There were a few journals that we print off of our computer that we can go back in and reprint them at any time. We had no damage whatsoever to records.
"Records are safe," she emphasized. "That is why we are working every day to backscan and digitize records."
AG OFFICE DAMAGED
Downstairs, on the lower level of the annex, where the majority of the damage took place, the Greene County Clinic and a women's restroom did not sustain any notable damage, Kinser said.
However, the Greene County office of the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, which is also located on the lower level of the Annex, sustained considerable damage, according to County Mayor Alan Broyles.
ServiceMaster Clean is working to deal with the water damage and has a lot of it dried up already, Broyles said.
"They caught the bulk of it," Kinser said of the Extension Office.
He noted damage to ceiling tiles, carpets, and even a couple of computers and desks.
"Some of the walls were soaked and will have to be repainted," he said.
The county will be financially responsible for all the damage through its self-insurance plan, Kinser confirmed, but he added that he did not have "any estimate whatsoever" as of Tuesday.
"Everything's back in operation today, slowly," he added. "It's being put back together. It'll take a few weeks before it's all corrected, but we're operational."
Monday was a scheduled work day for the Extension Office, but the office was closed that day as a result of the flood, according to Director Milton Orr.
The water leakage that poured down from the ceiling did damage to some of the Extension Service's teaching materials, especially those relating to the 4-H program, Orr note Tuesday, but he added that most materials are replaceable.
"We have some historical and other types of records," he said. "While there's some damage to some of those documents, we're not exactly sure how much.
"Today is just basically trying to get everything to where we can serve the public and operate somewhat efficiently," he added.
"It's coming together, and we're an adaptable crowd. We don't need ceilings and stuff to serve the public."