Officials have reported that a pipe burst at the Trinseo chemical plant in Bristol, Pennsylvania, has resulted in over 8,000 gallons of “latex emulsion” spilling into the Delaware River.
A statement released by the company reported that the spill occurred on Friday when “Some of the material overflowed the on-site containment system and entered a storm drain, where it flowed to Otter Creek and then to the Delaware River.” Trinseo also stated that nobody was injured during the incident and that the company is “working with local, state and federal agencies to clean up the release” and “regulatory agencies are testing water samples in the surrounding area to confirm that the material is not a threat to people or wildlife.”
The Philadelphia Water Department has reported that tap water is safe to drink as of right now, as contaminated water has not moved through the water treatment at the Baxter intakes and reached customers yet, stating that “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.” However, a bottled water advisory has been put into place out of an “abundance of caution.”
Mike Carroll, the deputy managing director for Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability stated that “Because we cannot be 100% that there will not be traces of these chemicals in the tap water throughout the entire afternoon, we want the public to be aware so that people can consider switching to bottled water to further minimize any risks.”
“Our best information is that people who ingest water will not suffer any near-term symptoms or any acute medical conditions,” Carroll added, “We foresee no need to seek medical attention related to this event. There is no concern over skin exposure or fire hazard. Likewise, we have no concern over inhaling any fumes at the levels we’re evaluating.”
Chemicals included in the latex spill include butyl acrylate, Ethel acrylate and methyl methacrylate, all of which are toxic at high concentrations.