Washington County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Leighta Laitinen said the water temperature problem came to her attention Friday after a complaint was relayed from the maintenance department that the water in the cell pod showers was too hot. When a maintenance crew checked the water heater, they discovered a faulty valve was to blame. An initial attempt to repair the valve didn’t solve the problem, and the water temperature went down.
“The valve had to be replaced,” Laitinen said. In the meantime, the water temperature was set to 115 degrees and checked every four hours. She said the water temperature would drop to about 90 degrees and a worker would have to make another adjustment.
The issue affected three pods where approximately 216 inmates are housed. Laitinen said the jail had to be careful in how the adjustments were made to ensure the water wasn’t so hot that an inmate could get scalded.
“We are doing everything we can,” Laitinen said. “It might not have been hot, but it was never cold.”
The area affected is the newer part of the detention center and does not have a backup water heater. Laitinen said as soon as the part arrives, it will be installed to correct the problem.