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Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2007

Lye contaminates city water supply

April 26, 2007

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— Nearly 100 residents were taken to hospitals Wednesday with burns or rashes after the town's water supply was accidentally treated with too much corrosive lye, officials said. No serious injuries were reported.

People in Spencer were advised not to use or touch the water until further notice, said Town Manager Carter Terenzini.

Residents started complaining of skin irritation and moderate burns after showering early Wednesday, police Sgt. John Agnew said. Officials determined that a malfunction at the town's water treatment plant had released too much sodium hydroxide into the water supply.

Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, is routinely put into water to reduce acidity and limit pipe corrosion, said Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.

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