North Dartmouth library leak to be fixed

Feb 18, 2021

The leakage at the North Dartmouth Library will soon be plugged — starting as early as next week.

On Feb. 18, the Library Building Committee unanimously approved an $8,770 proposal to fix the leaks along the building’s north wall after more than a year of issues surrounding the newly built building.

“It’s absolutely getting ridiculous,” committee member and Select Board Vice Chair Shawn McDonald said. “I’m getting tired of this — I’m tired of hearing about water.” 

The $10.5 million library was beset by a variety of construction issues leading up to its delayed opening last January, including a leak in the basement

In early February, officials noted that water was still leaking into the basement.

“There was a little water getting in from a different direction this time,” Director of Libraries Lynne Antunes said at a Feb. 9 Board of Library Trustees meeting.

According to building architect Conrad Ello, after construction of the library was finished, “a lot of work was done” with replacing conduits following the initial leaks.

“We thought we had taken care of the water problems,” he said. “Unbeknownst, certainly to us, there may have been a concurrent leak that was happening.”

Ello noted that the new leak was happening where the basement wall meets the floor slab — with leaks occurring after major storms.

A few minor issues have also cropped up, including replacing ground-mounted lights, along with a new water heater — something McDonald said the heater company was dragging their feet on “for almost a full year.”

“Crap or get off the pot,” he added.

To fix the leak, the architect said that Quincy-based contractor G & R Construction plans to use a hydrophilic grout injection. According to engineer Peter Babaian, once the polyurethane material mixes with any water, it will foam up and create a seal.

With the proposal approved, G & R project manager Jeff Guilherme said work will start “hopefully next week” and that there should not be any issues if inclement weather arises.

Although a date has yet to be set, at the Feb. 9 meeting Antunes announced plans to reopen. The library will likely let in small groups of people — around 25 or so — for half an hour at a time to browse the collection or use the computers, Antunes told board members.

“We gotta get you guys out of here,” McDonald said of the contractors. “I would love to see that — I would love to see this building open.”