News Feature | April 12, 2018

Chemical Leak Injures Water Workers

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,
@sarmje

firefighter reg new

Two water plant employees sustained injuries last week due to a chemical leak.

After firefighters responded to the incident at Middletown Water Treatment Plant in Ohio, fixing the problem was not so simple.

The responders “worked more than two hours Thursday afternoon to shut down a valve leaking powdered lime at the Middletown Water Treatment Plant that sent two employees to the hospital,” Dayton Daily News reported.

“The chemical leak was reported about 12:45 p.m. at the plant, 805 Columbia Ave. Firefighters had the situation under control before 3:30 p.m., according to Shelby Quinlivan, city communications coordinator. Police blocked off the road to keep people away from the plant as a precaution,” the report said.

Four tons of dry lime powder had escaped from a container, according to the report. Officials stated that the incident did not put the city water supply in danger. Quinlivan stated a rotary valve failure is suspected to have caused the leak, The Journal-News reported.

Lime powder can be used for water softening, according to the American Water Works Association. If inhaled, lime powder can pose a respiratory risk.

“While the incident happened at the city’s water treatment plant, at no time was the city’s drinking water supply in any danger, Fire Chief Paul Lolli said. Quinlivan, the communication coordinator, said the plant was treating water at the time of the incident and there were no disruptions to the water treatment process,” Dayton Daily News reported.

It appears the workers will be able to recover.

“The workers were conscious and breathing when they were taken to Atrium Medical Center. Quinlivan said they were hospitalized as a precaution and were under observation at the hospital,” Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Image Credit: "House Fire on Clinton Place in Hackensack, New Jersey," © 2012 Anthony Quintano, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/