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Water treatment plant: Chem spill injures worker

By Joe Beck

Contractors worked Tuesday to clean up the remnants of a chemical spill at Strasburg's nearly completed water treatment plant on Ram Drive.

The spill, which was reported about 10:30 a.m. Monday, sent one plant worker to the hospital with minor burns. No other injuries or property damage were recorded, said Chief Gary Yew of Shenandoah County Department of Fire and Rescue.

Yew estimated 280 gallons of caustic soda spilled into a concrete containment basin designed to catch such spills. Yew said most of the soda had been pumped out, placed in a tanker truck specially made to carry acids and hauled away to a site in North Carolina.

Yew said the injured worker was back on the job Tuesday after being treated and released at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital. Yew said the worker suffered minor burns when a valve failed and some of the soda splashed on him.

No official findings have been issued on the cause of the spill, but Yew said it appeared to be the result of a faulty valve.

He said caustic soda emits no poisonous gases unless it comes in contact with water under certain circumstances. The incident did not require an evacuation, he said.

"During the duration of the incident, there was no risk to public safety or the environment," Yew said.

Yew said the spilled soda will be returned to the tank from which it escaped after repairs to the faulty valve have been completed.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com


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