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Category Press Release
Publish Date 1/15/2016
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Earthquake Believed to Have Burst Pipe Causing Water Damage and IAQ Concerns at a School in Reno
Introduction EMSL Analytical provides testing services and sampling supplies to identify indoor environmental hazards often associated with earthquake damage.

San Leandro, CA, January 15th, 2016

A relatively minor December earthquake is believed to be responsible for extensive water damage to Pine Middle School in Nevada. Shaking caused by the earthquake is thought to be the reason a water pipe broke that subsequently flooded approximately 95% of the school’s first floor.  

The water was reportedly one to four inches in depth at one point and caused widespread damage as the water soaked into flooring and walls. Not only have building materials been destroyed, but there are now also potential indoor air quality (IAQ) concerns for students and faculty.

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, some of the water damaged tiles in the school are held in place with asbestos-containing glues. Repairing or removing these tiles could aerosolize asbestos fibers that would be a potential health threat to workers and anyone utilizing the building unless proper personal protective equipment is used and approved containment strategies are implemented.

Another concern is due to the moisture and the growth of mold. While standing water in visible areas can be relatively quickly extracted, moisture in wall cavities and other hidden locations are much more difficult to thoroughly dry. Mold can begin to grow on most wet materials in as short as 48 hours creating indoor air quality concerns. Inhaling mold is a known respiratory irritant, allergen, asthma trigger and some types of mold can even be pathogenic to people with a weakened immune system.

“When most people think of property damage following a minor earthquake, they typically think of small cracks and some broken items,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “This particular case shows how an earthquake can cause extensive property damage from a broken pipe that could also create mold issues and indoor air quality concerns. Older properties containing lead-based paints and asbestos-containing materials are another potential danger. Even properties that suffer only minor damage could have issues as any cleanup, repair or demolition activities could aerosolize these hazardous materials.”

To help prevent exposure risks due to hazardous materials, chemicals and microbial contaminants, EMSL Analytical offers environmental testing services and sampling supplies. Testing is instrumental for identifying mold, lead and asbestos exposure risks.

To learn more about testing for mold, lead, asbestos or other indoor air quality, environmental, health and safety issues, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies. 
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