The culprit of this weekend’s capitol flood is unclear according to an official in the Iowa Department of Administrative Services. A two-inch water pipe in the 4th floor attic at the statehouse ruptured Friday night, sending up to two-thousand gallons of water streaming through Legislative offices and a small part of the two-story chamber where members of the House of Representatives meet to debate. The pipe that broke was part of the capitol’s sprinkler system. Dean Ibsen of the Department of Administrative Services says it’s too soon to say whether a few dollars worth of insulation on that pipe could have saved the thousands of dollars that will be spent cleaning up the mess. But he conceeds that might be the case. “We’re going to have the elbow itself tested to see if we can figure out what caused the break,” Ibsen says. “(We) don’t have any conclusions yet. We know that we need to look at the system. We need to look at the condition, the temperature, the wind.” Ibsen says the sprinkler system water line has been in that attic location for several years, but may have been modified recently. He says they’re still trying to track down the details. There is a distinct smell at the statehouse now, and Mark Willemssen, the facilities manager for the Legislature, says the culprit for that is likely the wet wool carpeting. “It’s the real wet smell you get when things flood and you have (the water) sitting there,” Willemssen says. The carpets will be removed. They’ll let the wooden floors dry out for a couple of weeks and then install temporary carpeting. Permanent carpeting will come this summer after the legislative session is over and the staff members have time to have their desks moved about the building.
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