DI water is considered a utility but at our college the chem dept has to pay for it. We buy the consumables, pay for repairs, etc for the entire building's DI water supply that other depts also use. I don't think this is common, but when pennies get pinched, admin tries to figure out ways to charge depts for everything. Currently we aren't charged for house air, gas, or vacuum, but who knows what will happen in the future?
Currently our two-year college is planning a new chem/bio/career tech building and the chem dept has been told that if we want natural gas/DI water/air/vacuum, then these systems will be located in the chem stockroom area (instead of in a separate mechanical/utility room). Even though bio and other depts would also use the systems, chem would lose the space to house them. So we have to choose to either plumb the building for gas/air/vacuum/DI water and lose a lot of space, or not plumb these utilities and save space for other things. Why wouldn't we choose smaller systems and substitutes faced with this choice? Small DI water systems that fit under a sink, propane burners, vacuum pumps or aspirators, and air tanks where required start to sound pretty good!
When I worked in the pharm industry in the Palo Alto, CA area, none of our buildings were plumbed for natural gas in the labs. It was considered to be too much of a fire hazard if there was an earthquake. Since only a few labs on site required burners, they used alcohol or propane burners, and they were supposed to use them in their bio hoods. We didn't have any issues with these burners, they worked well.
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------ Original Message ------
From: Rita Kay Calhoun
Sent: September 17, 2014 at 8:40 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Natural Gas in Science Buildings
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