PHILADELPHIA - On Sunday, Philadelphia officials advised residents to use bottled water rather than tap for drinking and cooking due to a chemical spill in a tributary of the Delaware River - which provides drinking water to 14 million people across four states.
Philadelphia's water system serves over two million residents in the city and surrounding counties, drawing over half its water from the Delaware River basin. According to a statement from the Philadelphia Water Department, any water currently available to customers was treated before spill impacts reached Philadelphia and are safe for consumption.
On Friday evening, Trinseo Altuglas Chemical Facility in Bristol Township experienced a chemical leak that saw 8,100 and 12,000 gallons of a water-based latex finishing solution spill into the river. According to Bucks County health officials, this occurred due to an equipment failure; no known adverse health effects have been reported across Bucks County due to this incident.
On Saturday afternoon, a pipe ruptured at the plant and released chemicals into Otter Creek - which feeds into the Delaware River and its tributary. According to a statement released by the chemical company, this leak was due to an issue with their material-handling system.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has warned that butyl acrylate, a chemical, can cause short-term skin rash, stomach issues, and respiratory problems such as shortness of breath or coughing. Furthermore, according to NIH researchers, its pungent odor may cause burning sensations in the eyes or skin.