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Chemical spill sends 5 workers to hospital in Forsyth County

POSTED: July 30, 2014 1:32 a.m.

Five workers at the Forsyth County Water Reclamation Facility on Carolene Way in Cumming were hospitalized just after 2 p.m. Tuesday after being exposed to sodium hydroxide, according to Forsyth County Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers.

Shivers said a very small amount of sodium hydroxide was released as a hose was disconnected from a tanker delivering a load of the caustic chemical.

Shivers said the valves on the tank and the delivery truck were both closed and the only gas that was released was the small amount still in the hose. The workers were downwind of the truck, and the gas cloud passed over them as it dissipated. Shivers said the release dissipated quickly and no one at nearby Fowler Park was in any danger.

Shivers said one of the workers walked across Carolene Way to fire station No. 2, where the fire department’s hazardous materials team is based. Other workers were already helping the victims wash off the caustic chemical when the team arrived, according to Shivers, who said the workers were taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth for additional decontamination and treatment.

Shivers said all five workers, who are employed by a private contractor that operates the plant, complained of itching and burning related to the exposure, but none of the injuries appeared to be serious. Initial reports indicated four workers had been taken to the hospital, but officials say they actually transported five people for treatment.


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