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Hazardous Material Spills Into Delaware River, Philadelphia Residents Placed on High Alert


Philadelphia residents were placed on high alert Sunday after a chemical spill into the Delaware River.

12,000 gallons of hazardous latex material spilled into the river and reportedly impacted the Philadelphia water supply.

Philadelphia residents were urged to use bottled water after the reported chemical leak.

Video footage showed residents scrambling in stores to purchase bottled water.


According to reports, the chemical spill happened in nearby Bucks County.

The Trinseo Altuglas chemical facility in Bristol Township spilled a “water-based latex finishing solution into the river.”

ABC News reported:

Bucks County health officials said Sunday that a leak late Friday evening at the Trinseo Altuglas chemical facility in Bristol Township spilled between 8,100 and 12,000 gallons of a water-based latex finishing solution into the river. Officials said it is non-toxic to humans and no known adverse health effects have been reported in the county.

Mike Carroll, deputy managing director for Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability, said there had been no sign of contaminants in city water but officials “cannot be 100% certain” traces won’t show up Sunday afternoon. He called health risks from the material “very low if present at all” but said officials wanted people to be aware so they could consider using bottled water to drink or cook with to further minimize any risk.

The Philadelphia Water Department said Sunday evening that the water “will remain safe to drink and use” at least through Monday.

“Based on updated hydraulic modeling and the latest sampling, we are confident tap water from the Baxter plant will remain safe to drink through 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 27. We’re continuing to respond to this incident,” Philadelphia Water said.

The City of Philadelphia stated:

Based on updated hydraulic modeling and the latest sampling results and data, the Philadelphia Water Department is now confident tap water from the Baxter Drinking Water Treatment Plant will remain safe to drink and use at least through 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 27, 2023.

This updated time is based on the time it will take river water that entered the Baxter intakes early Sunday morning to move through treatment and water mains before reaching customers.

There is no need to buy water at this time. Customers can fill bottles or pitchers with tap water with no risk at this time.

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We provided an update (video) at approximately 5 p.m. today, Sunday, March 26, 2023.

The water that is currently available to customers was treated before the spill reached Philadelphia and remains safe to drink and use for bathing, cooking, and washing.

The earlier advisory that customers receiving water from the Baxter Drinking Water Treatment Plant may choose to drink bottled water on March 26 was issued out of an abundance of caution.

Testing has not shown the presence of water impacted by the spill in the Baxter system at this time.

Should residents trust city officials about the water’s safety?

After recent events, such as East Palestine, I’d remain skeptical.


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