NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — A yellow caution sign sits in the hallway outside the break room at the New London Police Department.
It is kept there to not only warn people of a wet floor after it’s been mopped but also because the ceiling often leaks.
The New London Police Union provided pictures of the hallway during recent rain storms. Caution tape can be seen along with a bucket used to try to contain the leak. But the bigger concern came last week when driving rains soaked the ceiling in the shift commander’s office where a plastic bag hangs to protect files.
“The water was coming down like it was a waterfall right here and it caused the dry wall to come down,” said Chief Peter Reichard as he showed News 8 the room.
He says leaks have been an ongoing problem in the 33-year-old building which has had flashing problems from the start.
“They actually roofed over the windows,” said Chief Reichard. “They put a roof in place and they sealed it up.”
But that wasn’t enough during the recent heavy rains.
“From the union’s perspective, our concern first and foremost is for the safety and well being of our members,” said Sgt. Charles Flynn, Vice President of the New London Police Union, AFSCME CT 724.
The union sent a letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) highlighting “fears of potential mold and fungi exposure.” The city shares the same concerns and brought in OSHA for a consultation and testing before the agency could respond to that complaint.
There were similar concerns back in 2005 when renovation of the dispatch center uncovered a wall of mold.
“And members complaining of illness. Well the same is true now as it was then. Nothing has changed but the date on the calendar,” said Sgt. Flynn. “So we’re hoping this time we can all come together and find a solution.”
These latest repairs could cost a couple hundred thousand dollars, which means other Public Works projects will have to wait.
“It’s a financial challenge,” said Paul Gills, New London’s Risk Manager.
Test results from OSHA aren’t expected for weeks, but the city isn’t waiting for them to get moving on repairs.