March 29, 2023

USA: ‘The Threat Has Passed' Officials Declare Philly Water Safe After 1.5 Million Philadelphians Received Text From Officials On 3/24 Telling Them To Buy Bottled Water Due To Chemical Latex Spill.

Eyewitness News ABC7NY published March 27, 2023: Chemical spill sparks drinking water concerns in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Water Department says it is confident that tap water is safe to drink through Monday night. Beccah Hendrickson reports.
CBS Evening News published March 26, 2023: Chemical spill prompts tap water advisory in Philadelphia. The city of Philadelphia has issued a water advisory after 8,000 gallons of latex chemicals spilled into a creek.
NBC10 Philadelphia published March 29, 2023: Philly Officials Drink Water to Show It's Safe After Chemical Spill. NBC10’s Randy Gyllenhaal reports on Philadelphia declaring its tap water safe after days of uncertainty following a chemical leak in neighboring Bucks County. On Tuesday evening, officials even drank water to show it is safe.

NBC News, Philadelphia local
written by Hayden Mitman, The Associated Press and David Chang
Tuesday March 28, 2023

No contaminants were found in Philadelphia's water supply following a chemical spill in the Delaware River on Friday and the city's tap water is safe to drink and use, officials announced.

“Now we can all confidently say the threat has passed,” Mayor Jim Kenney said during a Tuesday evening press conference. “All the city’s drinking water is safe to drink and will not be impacted by the spill.”

Mike Carroll, Philadelphia's deputy managing director for Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability, reiterated Kenney's message.

"It's safe. It's contaminant-free. And we can all enjoy it to drink. To cook with. To wash with. Whatever you want. So I will drink to that," Carroll said, before drinking a glass of water.

Carroll said the all-clear comes after Coast Guard tests of water from the river continued to show no contamination and water brought into the city system from the river for about four hours early Tuesday was contaminant-free.

Shortly before midnight on Friday, March 24, a synthetic latex product, described as a "'water soluble acrylic polymer solution" spilled from the Trinseo facility along a tributary of the Delaware River near Bristol Township, Bucks County. The spill occurred 13 miles north of the Baxter Water Treatment Plant, one of the City's three treatment plants and the only one that treats water from the Delaware River.

The spilled product is used to make products such as headlight covers, officials said.

However, health officials in Bucks County have said it is nontoxic to humans, and no known adverse health effects have been reported in the county.

The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) was notified by the Delaware Valley Early Warning System at 12:37 a.m. on Saturday. In response, PWD shut intakes to the Baxter plant and worked with their partners to determine whether any contaminated water entered it, officials said.

Officials then conducted round the clock sampling of water at the plant and river. The primary substances that were tested were butyl acrylate, ethyl acrylate and methyl methacrylate, according to investigators.

Over 100 samples taken by the PWD, regional water utilities, the U.S. Coast Guard, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found no detectable levels of chemicals associated with the spill, officials said.

"With this data showing no threat to public health, the City is ending the ongoing advisories about monitoring at the Baxter Drinking Water Treatment Plant," a PWD spokesperson wrote.

PWD officials said they will still monitor the Delaware River and plant out of an abundance of caution.

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