An early April spill of four tons of lime powder that injured two employees at the Middletown Water Treatment Plant will cost the city nearly $50,000.
Middletown will pay $45,650 to Clean Harbors Environmental Services Inc. for their clean-up services after the spill, according to Scott Tadych, the city’s public works and utilities director.
The lime powder escaped from a storage bin before a valve could be safely closed during routine maintenance at the water treatment plant on April 5, city officials said.
Tadych said a specialized clean-up company was called to remove and dispose of the lime powder.
City Manager Doug Adkins told council that the clean-up work was done on a time and materials basis.
The two injured employees were treated and released from Atrium Medical Center that evening after suffering burns from the powdered lime, which is used to soften the water from the Great Miami Buried Aquifer, the city’s water source.
Both employees have since returned to work, Adkins said.
One water plant employee suffered moderate burns; the other suffered minor burns to their back of neck and arms and legs, according to Fire Chief Paul Lolli. When water and lime combine, it will cause “significant burns” to the body, he said.
HazMat crews from around Butler County assisted Middletown firefighters for more than two hours and wore special protective suits in addressing the leak as they made multiple entries into the plant’s maintenance area.
Clean-up operations were completed about 3 a.m. April 6 and did not affect the treatment plant’s daily operations nor the city’s drinking water, according to city officials. There was no structural damage reported as a result of the incident.
The Middletown Water Treatment Plant, located at 805 Columbia Ave. was built in 1971 and treats about nine million gallons of water a day for the city. The plant has 13 employees, and at the time of the incident there were 15 people in the facility, city officials said.
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