Burst Pipe Delays State Business Licensing

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Tattoo studios, massage therapists and others requiring licensing from the state face delays in getting those permits.

That's after a pipe burst two weeks ago and flooded a Texas health department building in Austin.

Businesses and professionals say they can't reach the department by phone, e-mail responses are slow and the Web site has little information to help. Those problems are stalling some career plans.

It's unclear how many applications are backlogged at the Department of State Health Services. The department typically processes application for about 500 people and 100 facilities daily. But agency spokesman Doug McBride says it's currently not processing any applications.

The agency regulates about 20-thousand facilities and buildings, including hospitals and food manufacturers. It also grants licenses and certifications to 260-thousand professionals, such as athletic trainers, dietitians and paramedics.

McBride says application processing could resume Friday or early next week -- after employees move back into their four-story building.