- Associated Press - Saturday, October 28, 2017

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - More structural problems are turning up at the Wyoming State Penitentiary, including issues that date to the prison’s construction.

Crews recently found and released thousands of gallons of water that had been sealed under the maximum-security prison in Rawlins. The water came from leaks in the prison kitchen, Wyoming Construction Department Director Del McOmie told the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee on Friday.

Other newly discovered problems include a sewer line incorrectly labeled as storm water and a fire hose line improperly made of plastic instead of metal. Bolts not made of stainless steel held the fire hose line in place.

“They were rusting,” McOmie said. “Some of them you could just take your hand and squeeze them and they’d break.”

The Rawlins prison was built on unstable soil. For several years now concrete has been shifting and cracking, prompting a debate over whether to repair the prison or build a new one, the Casper Star-Tribune reports .

Wyoming lawmakers voted in August to spend $7.5 million on repairs rather than rebuild the prison at a cost of $80 million.

The repair work includes grading surrounding land to improve drainage, repairing severely damaged elements of the complex and building supports to provide reinforcement.

Committee members have been hearing about problems with the building for years but some were especially frustrated with the latest revelations.

“We should never build a building again on soil like this because we don’t have the level of competency to ensure that pipes are put together,” said Rep. Albert Sommers, R-Pinedale. “Wish we could get to a point where we can make sure construction is just as it’s set to be.”


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com

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