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JAIL PLUMBING: Upgrades, replacement parts a challenge for officials

November 15, 2013

COLUMBIA CITY— Plumbing upgrades to older fixtures at the Whitley County Jail have have come at a cost to the county.

County Commissioner George Schrumpf said valves have been failing, and the expense to change them out is high.

“We have been replacing them little-by-little,” he said.

The $1,400 upgrade will provide more efficient control of the faucets, as well as lavatories in the jail.

The valves are specifically designed so they cannot be torn apart and used to make a weapon by an inmate.

Sheriff Mark Hodges said finding the correct parts has been somewhat of a challenge.

“We’re kind of at the mercy of the suppliers to do whatever it takes to get the parts we need,” he said.

Specifically, Hodges said sometimes the sinks would not shut off.

“The biggest problem — or a symptom of the problem — is water not shutting off in cell sinks, or coming on by itself,” he said. “We haven’t had any flooding or any other major issues. It’s just a matter of some things not working properly.”

Previously, problems were fixed by a corrections officer.

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