State chemist's office operating while assessing water damage

January 9, 2014  

Robert Waltz and damage to labs

Indiana State Chemist Robert Waltz surveys water damage in the pesticide residue and microbiology labs in the basement of the Biochemistry Building on the Purdue University campus Wednesday. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Office of Indiana State Chemist is functioning on a limited basis following extensive water damage from a burst pipe in Purdue University's Biochemistry Building.

Members of the public, including clients, can continue to reach staff at the OISC's main telephone number, 765-494-1492, but the office is closed to visitors.

A 4-inch water line ruptured Tuesday evening (Jan. 7) and flooded all four floors of the building, said Carol Shelby, senior director of environmental health and public safety. Most of the damage was confined to the building's annex, which houses the OISC and biochemistry department.

State Chemist Robert Waltz said ceiling tile fell, and computers, other equipment and carpeting sustained water damage. He said there was little damage, however, to paperwork such as licensing documents.

Equipment in the OISC's five labs appeared to be working, Waltz said, but they were shut down while staff assessed damage.

"How the equipment will be affected in the long-term, we don't know yet," he said. "It's like a damaged car; it might work for a little while but then a few days later it stops working completely." 

Waltz expected that the office would have to relocate temporarily - perhaps for months - while the office is rebuilt.

Waltz said there could be delays in processing licenses and registrations. He also said clients who had a deadline of Jan. 15 to apply for licenses and registrations would be given an extra two weeks - until Feb. 1 - without being assessed a late fee.

In the past couple of days, the Purdue University Fire Department responded to nearly 20 calls about water leaks at campus buildings. In most instances, responders prevented any significant damage.

Indiana was hit with temperatures in the double digits below zero over the weekend and into the early part of the week.  

Writers: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722,

Amanda Hamon, 765-494-61325, 

Source: Robert Waltz, 765-494-1492,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson,
Agriculture News Page

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