Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney drank a glass of water at a news conference Wednesday as he declared the city's tap water was safe following a chemical spill up the Delaware River. Screenshot/CBS Philadelphia/YouTube
March 29 (UPI) -- Philadelphia officials declared the city's water cleared to drink Tuesday night after testing at one of its drinking water treatment plants showed it was not affected by a chemical spill.
Officials worried that an accidental chemical spill from a latex plant could taint drinking water as the remnants from the spill flowed down the Delaware River. Monitoring at the city's Baxter Drinking Water Treatment Plant showed no indication of the chemicals.
"With this data showing no threat to public health, the city is ending the ongoing advisories about monitoring at the Baxter Drinking Water Treatment Plant," the Philadelphia Water Department said in a statement. "Philadelphia's drinking water remains safe to drink and use."
Mayor Jim Kenney sought to assure Philadelphians that the water was safe as he drank from a glass of water himself at a news conference.
"We can all confidently say the threat has passed," he said. "I repeat, all the city's drinking water is safe to drink."
A synthetic latex product spilled from the Trinseo facility along a tributary of the Delaware River near Bristol Township, Bucks County, about 13 miles north of the Baxter Drinking Water Treatment Plant intake late last Friday.
Still, the public remained jittery Tuesday with residents clearing many local stores of bottled drinking water on sale.
Kenney on Tuesday said it was important for the city to alert residents of the possible risk out of an abundance of caution, adding that the guidance that residents drink bottled water was "a suggestion."
"When we weren't sure, we had to give people some advisory, so people would be safe," he told reporters ahead of the press conference. "If we had held on to the information you would be asking me why we didn't say anything."
City officials have examined hundreds of samples from several locations along with the Baxter Drinking Water intake and found no trace of contaminants related to the chemical plant discharge.
Altuglas, a subsidiary of Trinseo PLC, had said the solution that was spilled was a mix of 50% water and the remainder latex polymer. It said water samples there found that the material released was not a threat to people or wildlife.