SOUTH FORSYTH — Five workers were hospitalized Tuesday after they were exposed to sodium hydroxide at the Forsyth County Water Reclamation Facility on Carolene Way, authorities said.
According to Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers, a small amount of the compound was released about 2 p.m. as a hose was disconnected from a tanker delivering a load to the facility.
Shivers said the valves on the tank and delivery truck were both closed at the time, so the only gas that escaped came from the hose.
The workers, all of whom are employed by a private contractor that operates the plant, were standing downwind of the truck, according to Shivers.
He went on to note that the gas dissipated quickly and that no one at nearby Fowler Park was ever in any danger.
According to Shivers, one of the workers walked across Carolene Way to Fire Station 2, which is where the department's hazardous materials team is based.
Other employees were helping the workers who had been exposed wash off the caustic chemical when the team arrived.
The workers were taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth for additional decontamination and treatment, Shivers said.
The five complained of itching and burning related to exposure, though Shivers said none of the injuries appeared to be serious.