Woman exposed to hydrochloric acid at country club

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By Jacquelyn Stoess Hack

The pool manager at a local country club was exposed to hydrochloric acid as it leaked from a damaged line midday Tuesday. 

Crews from La Grange Fire & Rescue and Oldham County EMS responded to Oldham County Country Club at 11:10 a.m. Tuesday.

Russ Johnson, general manager of the Oldham County Country Club, said the pool manager noticed the line that feeds hydrochloric acid to the pool appeared clogged. 

As she went to inspect it, she found a leak in the line and hydrochloric acid spewed into her face, he said. 

Johnson said the country club’s ground superintendent quickly shut off the pump.

The chemical is pumped from a 15-gallon container, Johnson said. About a pint of hydrochloric acid spilled before the leak was contained. 

Hydrocholoric acid is a clear, poisonous liquid. It is highly corrosive, which means it immediately causes damage on contact.

The Oldham County Hazmat Team, comprised of firefighters and others specifically trained for hazmat emergencies, also responded to the country club.

The team worked to move the woman through a decontamination process that limits further injury and also prevents others from being exposed to hazardous  chemicals. 

The pool manager, a woman in her 20s, appeared alert and uninjured as she walked to nearby ambulance. Johnson said she has several years experience working at the country club, including more than one season as pool manager. 

Oldham County EMS took the woman to University Hospital in Louisville as a precaution. 

Johnson said a family member of the pool manager later contacted him from University Hospital and said the woman had dry, irritated eyes but no signs of serious injury. 

Officials from Oldham County Country Club evacuated the area shortly after the spill. The club re-opened at 2 p.m., although the pool remained closed due to an electrical problem.


No danger found  after HazMat call in Pewee Valley  

Crews from the South Oldham Fire Department and the county’s hazmat team were called to Pewee Valley late Saturday afternoon. 

A hazmat spill was reported about 4 p.m. in the 8500 block of Maple Avenue, located in Clovercroft subdivision. 

Firefighters from across the county assembled at the scene.

Officials later determined that an unidentified substance found by the homeowner is known as mulch mold – a foamy, yellow fungus often found in mulched flowerbeds after rain. 

It hardens and disintegrates into powder that left the homeowner suspicious. Experts say the fungus grows on wood mulch and is relatively harmless. 


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