Officials in Philadelphia are encouraging locals against drinking tap water following a chemical spill in nearby Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia Water Department said it is monitoring the release of a latex product along a Delaware River tributary in Bristol Township late on Friday. Authorities sent out a public safety alert on Sunday afternoon saying the city of Philadelphia recommends bottled drinking water from 2 p.m. until further notice.
As of late Sunday morning, local authorities said the contaminants had not been found in the water system and offered assurances that they have no concern over skin exposure or fire hazard.
“Bathing and washing dishes do not present a concern. Likewise, we have no concern over inhaling fumes at the levels we are evaluating,” said Michael Carroll, deputy managing director for Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability.
Still, officials are encouraging the use of bottled water as a precaution.
“Because we cannot be 100 percent sure that there won’t be traces of these chemicals in the tap water throughout the afternoon, we want the public to be aware so that people can consider switching to bottled water to further minimize any risk,” Carroll said. “Therefore, we are notifying the public in the customer service area that they may wish not to drink or cook with tap water.”
Within a couple of hours, posts to social media showed store shelves wiped clean of bottled water.
Officials blame a pipe rupture at a chemical plant, Trinseo PLC, for the release of an estimated 8,100 to 12,000 gallons of latex finishing material, a water-soluble acrylic polymer solution, into Otter Creek, which runs into the Delaware River, according to ABC affiliate WPVI.
The report said crews are now working to clean up the spill and, so far, there are no indications of affected wildlife as there were following last month’s hazardous materials release with the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, not far from Pennsylvania’s western border.
“We are working with the responsible party and local and federal agencies to ensure a safe response effort,” said Capt. Jonathan Theel, the commander of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, per CBS News. “We are also working with our State counterparts in Pennsylvania.”
The Philadelphia Water Department shared a link to a map showing the eastern part of the city of nearly 1.6 million people next to the Delaware River is “potentially impacted” by chemical spill while the eastern portion is shown as not impacted.