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Philly water is safe to drink through Tuesday afternoon, officials say, but monitoring of chemical spill continues

Frank Kummer and Jason Laughlin, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia officials say tap water from the Baxter treatment plant is safe to drink at least through 3:30 p.m. Tuesday as they continue to monitor the impact of a chemical spill from a plant upstream on the Delaware River.

So far, no contaminants related to Friday night’s inadvertent discharge of 8,100 gallons of tainted water from the Trinseo plant in Bristol, Bucks County, have been detected at the Baxter water treatment facility, which supplies drinking water for more than half of the city.

Officials said at a briefing Monday that the threat of contamination should pass by Wednesday night or Thursday. The Philadelphia Water Department said it would continue testing drinking water into next week, though, to ensure the water is safe.

Randy Hayman, the department’s commissioner and CEO, said tests have been conducted at 12 locations along the Delaware River, including just outside the Baxter plant.

“All the tests so far have been negative,” Hayman said.

Mike Carroll, deputy managing director for the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability, said testing “has been going on around the clock and will continue.” The latest test was at 4 p.m. Monday.


City officials say that residents can safely continue to use the water in their homes. “It is safe to drink and use tap water to cook with it, took brush your teeth, to bathe in,” Carroll said.

The contaminants may not reach the city water supply, but if they do, officials said, they should have the capacity to treat the water, given that the chemicals would be highly diluted and pose a low risk.

If the city is unable to fully remediate any chemicals from the system, officials said they will have a plan to distribute water.

Anne Nadol, the city’s commerce director, said restaurants and businesses should also have no fear of using tap water for now. She said officials hope to give another update Tuesday morning.


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