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United Way of Lancaster County


Commissioners declare state of emergency to speed cleanup of water damage at County Government Center

Lancaster County Government Center, 150 N. Queen St. (Photo: Tim Stuhldreher)

The Lancaster County commissioners on Wednesday declared a 60-day state of emergency to expedite cleanup of the County Government Center following a water line break over the weekend.

The declaration allows the county to rent or buy equipment, buy materials and hire vendors and temporary workers for the cleanup without going through normal procurement procedures. It gives county administrators “flexibility to meet the scope of this event” and will allow the building to reopen sooner, deputy Chief Clerk Amy Campbell said.

County Solicitor Jackie Pfursich agreed, saying it’s warranted given the “significant impairment” to a public facility due to the leak and the need to bring it back into service quickly.

The county announced Saturday that a cap on a water line on the third floor of the seven-story complex at 150 N. Queen St. had broken, causing major water damage to the third and second floors and parts of the first floor. The building is remaining closed all week to allow for restoration work; the county anticipates reopening on Monday, Jan. 10.

In the interim, county departments are being set up at temporary locations. County residents who need a specific office are advised to call it for further information and assistance.

The commissioners praised county staff for responding quickly to the situation and maintaining county services without interruption.

A firm damage estimate is not yet available, but it’s expected to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Commissioner Josh Parsons said.

Remediation work is expected to continue for weeks after the expected reopening on Monday; but the hope is to complete it and end the declaration on or before the 60-day limit, he said.