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Man dies after working in Valpo water treatment tank

Updated: November 2, 2011 2:07PM



A 38-year-old worker from northern Indiana became ill and died Monday after working on a tank at the Valparaiso water treatment plant, according to Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris.

Donald Nowell of Hamlet was pronounced dead Monday evening at Porter hospital in Valparaiso after he started to get nauseous and dizzy following work that involved chemicals, Harris said.

Harris said he could not yet provide a cause of death following a Tuesday autopsy.

“I just know that he’s got heavily damaged lungs, and I don’t know if it was caused by the chemicals that the gentleman was working with, or a pre-existing condition,” Harris said. “There could have been an underlying medical condition, or it could have been from the chemicals that he was working with.”

Harris said Nowell was working with epoxy material. The coroner also said it is his understanding that Nowell was inside a tank doing some kind of repair work when he began getting dizzy. Nowell was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival, Harris said.

“He’s not a city worker,” said Harris, indicating that Nowell was employed by an Indiana company.

Harris estimated that a cause of death for Nowell would probably be determined in about two weeks, adding that medical tests would be done involving the examination of tissue samples.

Harris listed the address of the water treatment plant as 1251 Joliet Road, which is the address for Valparaiso’s wastewater treatment facilities.

Contact Bob Kostanczuk at 648-3144.



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