Inside the Edmonds Library on Friday, in Edmonds, that is currently under renovation after water damage from a burst pipe. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Inside the Edmonds Library on Friday, in Edmonds, that is currently under renovation after water damage from a burst pipe. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Waterlogged library stays shuttered indefinitely in Edmonds

A burst water pipe wreaked catastrophic damage, but most books were unscathed. A reopening plan is set to be released next month.

EDMONDS — Sno-Isle Libraries saw catastrophic damage at one of its busiest locations when a pipe burst three weeks ago.

In the vacant Edmonds Library on Friday, steel support beams were exposed at the bottom of every wall. Empty bookshelves were strewn around the children’s area. A paper “Nonfiction” sign was stuck to the glue where the blue-dotted carpet used to be.

Around 7 a.m. Friday June 24, Waste Management staff saw water spilling out the library’s front door. The leak likely started the night before, pushing out about 60,000 gallons of water over the next eight hours or so. That’s roughly enough water to fill two 18- by 36-foot pools.

“Every square inch” of the 17,000 square-foot floor was soaked, said R.D. Burley, assistant director of Facilities, Safety and Security. Standing water was 2 inches high in some spots.

Sno-Isle declared a state of emergency that Friday. Staff rushed over 50,000 books, DVDs and other materials out of the library. The Edmonds collection now lives at Sno-Isle’s Service Center in Marysville. Only a handful of books were damaged in the shuffle.

The leak occurred in a pipe in the ceiling above the staff break room, hundreds of feet from where passersby noticed it pouring out the front door. It likely sprung from the connection between plastic and copper piping that feed irrigation on the rooftop garden, Burley said. That water source was shut off for the Edmonds Art Festival, and the leak started shortly after it was turned back on a week later. Contractors are still looking for the cause.

The city owns the building and contracted Restore-X to remove standing water, carpeting and dry out the building. Inspections are scheduled.

It’s unclear how much it will cost to get the library back in order, said David Durante, Sno-Isle Libraries deputy director. The city and Sno-Isle are working with their insurers to figure out the options.

Durante said in his tenure, there haven’t been any unexpected renovations like this.

A reopening plan is set to be released next month.

In the meantime, the Bookmobile will be in the Edmonds Library parking lot every Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Holds will be available at the Lynnwood branch, about 5 miles down the road. Community events will move to other nearby gathering spaces.

Amy Santos, Edmonds Library circulation supervisor, has worked for Sno-Isle for 17 years, spending seven of those years in Edmonds. Santos said she’s already seen the Edmonds community migrating to Lynnwood. She and the 20 plus other Edmonds branch staff have been relocated for now.

“It’s been difficult not seeing our customers, our volunteers and our coworkers,” Santos said. “We’re really a close-knit team. I’m looking forward to welcoming people back.”

Isabella Breda: 425-339-3192;; Twitter: @BredaIsabella.

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