What is going on with Philadelphia’s drinking water?

City officials say it’s safe to drink following a chemical spill and previous recommendations to use bottled water.

Sold-out water section in a Giant Supermarket in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 26, 2023. Thomas Hengge/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

This weekend, Philadelphia became the latest US city to navigate uncertainty about its drinking water following a chemical spill in the Delaware River from a nearby latex manufacturer. Currently, Philadelphia’s tap water will remain safe to drink through 3:30 pm local time on Tuesday, according to city officials, who’ve been conducting tests on the water supply. That’s a change from the message residents received midday on Sunday when a city text alert recommended that they use bottled water, spurring a rush to stores.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s latest update:

Philadelphia’s tap water is safe to drink through at least 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, the city announced Tuesday morning. Officials said they are continuing to monitor the impact of a chemical spill from a Bucks County plant into a tributary of the Delaware River. So far, no contaminants have been found in Philadelphia’s water system, and the city says residents can drink tap water and fill bottle pitchers with no risk.

Customers buy water at Sprouts at South Broad and Carpenter in Philadelphia after a shipment arrived Monday morning.Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer

The spill of 8,100 to 12,000 gallons of chemicals into the Delaware River occurred on Friday evening shortly before midnight at the Trinseo PLC Plant about eight miles north of Baxter. That plant, located in Bristol, Pennsylvania, in Bucks County, manufactures acrylic resins, and uses materials like those found in latex paint. Due to what the company described as an “equipment failure,” its facilities were unable to contain the chemicals — a solution of 50 percent water and 50 percent latex polymer — which then spilled into Otter Creek and then the Delaware River.

From VOX and The Philadelphia Inquirer

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