Statehouse dries out after flooding

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A drainage pipe at the statehouse burst overnight, causing significant damage to an important legislative department.

Equipment is working to dry out the Legislative Research Department from water that flowed from a 10 inch drainage pipe that burst due to heavy rains overnight.

"We've had to vacate several offices back in that portion of the office and it has ruined some furniture and computer equipment," Raney Gilliland, Director of Legislative Research, said.

The pipe runs from the 5th floor roof. Legislative Research is on the garden level, or basement. That means during the rain storm that dumped 2 ½” of rain on Topeka, that pipe was carrying large amounts of rain runoff down 6 floors.

"I think the remodelers did a great job, but that pipe was just a little bit small for taking everything that came down," Wichita Republican Senator, and Senate President, Susan Wagle said.

The area where the offices sit was part of the $325-million Statehouse remodel that wrapped up in 2014.

Now, fans are drying not only the offices, but also official and historic documents.

"There are some documents of which are historical in nature and were produced prior to any kind of digitization, and so those documents we're attempting to salvage," Gilliland said.

The documents range from a 1973 look at how much the state paid cities to maintain highways, to ones used in current committee hearings. Staff says present-day papers have backups, so it won't affect the legislature.

Gilliland adds, "It's all hands on deck in the Legislative Research Department. The legislature will not notice any change in the delivery of our services."

They are still trying to determine how much damage was done. They’ll work through the weekend to try and dry out some of the historical documents.