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Pipes burst at Minn. Dept. of Health amid freezing temperatures

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

The Minnesota Department of Health suspended most of its laboratory operations after the heating system failed amid freezing temperatures on Monday morning.

The freeze caused significant water leaks on several floors of the building, forcing crews from MDH and the Minnesota Department of Administration's Plant Management to work to protect equipment, samples and supplies and to remove equipment from affected areas.

By late Monday afternoon workers had restored 3 of 6 air-handling units, allowing lab temperatures to stabilize.

MDH suspended all testing in the infectious disease and environmental laboratories through at least Tuesday.

Laboratory Director Joanne Bartkus said several major pieces of equipment sustained significant damage and the cost of the total damage could exceed $1 million. 

READ MORE: 10 ways to prevent frozen pipes this winter

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