When a valve malfunctioned at an Ohio water plant, two employees sustained injuries last week when a chemical leaked out.

Fixing the problem was not so simple at the Middletown Water Treatment Plant in Middletown, Ohio, firefighters said.

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The responders “worked more than two hours Thursday afternoon to shut down a valve leaking powdered lime at the Middletown Water Treatment Plant.

“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.,” said Shelby Quinlivan, city communications coordinator. “Police blocked off the road to keep people away from the plant as a precaution.”

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Four tons of dry lime powder had escaped from a container, according to the report. Officials said the incident did not put the city water supply in danger.

Quinlivan said a rotary valve failure is suspected to have caused the leak.

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, said Fire Chief Paul Lolli.

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.”

The injured workers are on the road to recovery.

“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.”

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