PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia water officials say they are monitoring water quality closely and have seen no sign of contamination following a chemical spill into the Delaware River in a neighboring county.
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. Officials said it is non-toxic to humans, and no known adverse health effects have been reported in the county.
The Philadelphia water department “has analyzed a variety of samples from the river and raw water basin using infrared spectroscopy and gas chromatography," city officials said.
"Contaminants related to the Bristol Township discharge have not been found" in the city water system, officials said.
Officials said they will continue to track the spill closely and vowed to notify the public immediately if water quality sampling indicates a potential effect on the river water entering the Baxter Water Treatment Plant in northeast Philadelphia downstream from the spill.
Officials said earlier that water would “remain safe to drink and use” at least through Monday, based on the time it takes water to move through treatment and water mains before reaching customers. Officials said intakes to the treatment plant were initially closed after the spill. But the intakes were later opened to maintain minimal water levels to avoid damage to equipment and to supply water for fire safety and other essential needs.
Mike Carroll, deputy managing director for Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability, called the health risks from the material “very low if present at all.” But he said officials wanted people to be aware so they could consider using bottled water to drink or cook with to further minimize any risk.
Coast Guard officials say they and other agencies are working to remove the spill material from the storm drain system and outflow on Mill Creek. So far, 60,000 gallons of contaminated water has been collected, officials said Monday. Shoreline patrols Sunday morning turned up no visible chemicals along the Delaware River, they said.