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Philadelphia tap water safe to drink through Monday after chemical spill, officials say

Philadelphia tap water safe, officials say
Philadelphia tap water still safe to drink, officials say 00:24

Philadelphians are cleared to drink tap water through Monday night after a chemical spill on Friday prompted warnings from city officials, the Philadelphia Water Department announced. Officials had earlier said residents who receive drinking water from the Baxter Drinking Water Treatment Plant to may want to use bottled water "to further minimize risk."

The PWD said Sunday that, "based on updated hydraulic modeling and the latest sampling, we are confident tap water from the Baxter plant will remain safe to drink at least through 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 27."

"There is no need to buy water at this time," PWD added. "Customers can fill bottles or pitchers with tap water with no risk at this time."

Some 8,000–12,000 gallons of latex product spilled into Otter Creek, a tributary of the Delaware River, in Bristol Township on Friday night, according to CBS Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management provided a map of possibly impacted areas.

While no contamination was immediately found, Philadelphia officials initially urged the public not to drink or cook with tap water out of an abundance of caution. 

"We know residents are concerned, and we continue to respond to this situation as updated information comes in," Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney tweeted Sunday night. "I want to assure everyone: no contaminants have been found in our tap water system. At this time, Philly's tap water remains safe to drink.

Officials said acrylic latex polymer is non-toxic to humans, CBS Philadelphia reported, and Dr. Arthur Frank, an environmental public health expert from Drexel University, said the material is probably so diluted it won't be dangerous in the water system, according to the station.

Authorities advised the public to stay away from the Otter Creek area as cleanup is underway, CBS Philadelphia reported. 

"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. "We are also working with our State counterparts in Pennsylvania."

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