Philadelphia Officials Issue Emergency Alert to Residents to Drink Bottled Water After Chemical Spill

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
March 26, 2023USshare
Philadelphia Officials Issue Emergency Alert to Residents to Drink Bottled Water After Chemical Spill
Lightning illuminates storm clouds over the Philadelphia skyline as seen from across the Delaware River in Camden N.J., in a file photo. (Joseph Kaczmarek/AP Photo)

The City of Philadelphia issued an advisory to locals on Sunday that they should drink bottled water “out of caution” following a chemical spill in the nearby Delaware River.

On Twitter, the city wrote that it is currently “responding to a spill of a latex product that occurred along a Delaware River tributary” and that “more information will be provided as it becomes available.” As of Sunday, it wrote that “no contaminants” were discovered in the city’s tap water but said that any potential contaminants would most likely be found at the Baxter Drinking Water Treatment Plant.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” the City of Philadelphia advised, “residents in the impacted areas may want to switch to bottled water.”

Authorities pointed to a map, titled “Delaware River Latex Spill Map,” which showed districts in Philadelphia that may have been “potentially impacted” by the spill as of Sunday afternoon. That included the much of city’s border along the Delaware River.

“As has been reported, on Friday night a chemical spill occurred in Bristol Township, Bucks County which released contaminants into the Delaware River,” Mike Carroll, the city’s deputy managing director for transportation, told CNN. “The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) became aware of this through the Delaware Valley Early Warning System (EWS) and has been evaluating the situation since that time to understand potential impacts to the public. Although early indications have not revealed contamination, we are still monitoring the situation and conducting testing.”

Residents also told CNN and other outlets that they received cellphone push emergency alerts about the chemical spill and advisory to drink bottled water.  The alert said that the advisory will last “until further notice for all Phila Water Department customers” and that “contaminants have not been found in the system at this time but this is out of caution due to a spill in the Delaware River.”

The release of chemicals into the Delaware River occurred on Friday night in Bristol Township in Bucks County after more than 8,000 gallons of latex poured into Otter Creek, which runs into the river, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, which said it is helping with the cleanup.

“Coast Guard personnel are advising the public to stay away from the area where cleanup operations are underway,” the military branch said in a statement. It noted that upwards of 12,000 gallons of “latex finishing chemicals” may have been released into the water.

Local media also reported that butyl acrylate, a flammable liquid used to make paints and sealants, was released into the Delaware River. That same chemical was found in waterways around East Palestine, Ohio, after a highly publicized train derailment last month.

Ethel acrylate and methyl methacrylate, which are used to manufacture plastics and coatings, were also released, reports said.

“Our best information is that people who ingest water will not suffer any near-term symptoms or any acute medical conditions,” Carroll told WHYY. “We foresee no need to seek medical attention related to this event. There is no concern over skin exposure or fire hazard. Likewise, we have no concern over inhaling any fumes at the levels we’re evaluating.”

On Saturday, Tim Thomas, a manager with manufacturing company Trinseo PLC, told 6ABC that a pipe burst and released the chemicals into the water.

“It hit the roof of a building, went down a gutter, from the gutter it went to a storm drain, from the storm drains it found another outfall basin, from there it started to leak into the river,” Thomas told the outlet. “It’s like the material you find in paint,” added Thomas. “It’s your typical acrylic paint you have in your house, that’s what really this material is, in a water base.”

Authorities in southern New Jersey, located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, said they are monitoring whether any contaminants made it into local municipal drinking water.

“At this time there is no impact to the source water outside of the company’s Delaware River Regional Water Treatment Plant,” New Jersey American Water President Mark McDonough told NJ Advance Media on Saturday.

From The Epoch Times

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