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Philadelphia water 'safe to drink and use' after nearby chemical spill, city says

ABC News 3/29/2023

Residents in Philadelphia can safely drink the water following a nearby chemical spill, the city's water department said Tuesday evening.

The Philadelphia Department of Water declared that the water is "safe to drink and use" and that the drinking water wasn't affected by Friday's chemical spill in Bucks County.

Last week, the city recommended residents use bottled water "out of an abundance of caution" after a pipe ruptured at a chemical plant on Friday.

MORE: Jackson, Mississippi, got $102K in water crisis donations. They’ve yet to spend a penny

Philadelphia lifted its advisories monitoring the Baxter Drinking Water Treatment Plant, officials said.

Mayor Jim Keeney also announced the news on Twitter Tuesday, saying that Philadelphia worked quickly to deal with the situation.

"I'm grateful that no residents were exposed to unsafe chemicals in the city’s tap water following the spill," Keeney said. "This is a result of the swift action, caution and preparedness of @PhiladelphiaGov and partners and our commitment to ensuring the well-being and health of all residents."

View on the Center City skyline as seen from the South Street Bridge, in Philadelphia, Oct. 23, 2019. © NurPhoto via Getty Images View on the Center City skyline as seen from the South Street Bridge, in Philadelphia, Oct. 23, 2019.

An estimated 8,100 gallons of latex finishing material, a water-soluble acrylic polymer solution, was released into Otter Creek in Bristol, Pennsylvania, on Friday.

"It's like the material you find in paint," said senior vice president of manufacturing and engineering at Trinseo, Tim Thomas, according to ABC Philadelphia station WPVI. "It's your typical acrylic paint you have in your house, that's what really this material is, in a water base."

According to the city, contaminants were never found in the city's water supply at "any point since the spill."

While residents in Philadelphia did not have their water contaminated, other cities have had ongoing water issues.

MORE: Philadelphia says 'no need to buy water at this time' after nearby chemical spill

Historic flooding and freezing temperatures in Mississippi damaged Jackson's water distribution system last year, resulting in boil-water notices or no running water for weeks at a time.

In September, Baltimore urged residents to boil their water after E. coli was discovered in West Baltimore. Over 1,500 people were affected by the advisory, as well as several local area schools.

ABC News' Matt Foster and Julia Jacobo contributed to this report.

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