Philadelphia officials say the city’s water is safe to drink for now after a chemical spill in a local river.
A pipe ruptured on Friday at chemical plant Trinseo PLC, leaking hazardous material into a tributary of the Delaware River, a source of water for millions of people.
Officials asked people to drink bottled water, leading to empty shelves.
But local authorities said later on Sunday there had been no contamination in the city’s water system.
“We have enough [tap] water to sustain a safe use for drinking, cooking – all purposes – through till at least 11:59 p.m., Monday, March 27,” Mike Carroll, the city’s deputy managing director for transportation, infrastructure and sustainability, told reporters on Sunday. “The potential for contamination is diminishing over time.”
The Delaware River Basin supplies water to over 15 million people across 4 states, according to the US government.
The Pennsylvania chemical spill occurred after a pipe burst at Trinseo PLC on Friday, leaking 8,100 galloons of a latex-based solution into Otter Creek in Bucks County, just north-east of Philadelphia, according to local authorities.
The company, which manufactures plastics and latex binders, said the leak seemed to be due to an equipment failure.
City officials said in a mobile phone alert earlier on Sunday that contaminants had not been found in Philadelphia’s water, but recommended residents buy bottled water “out of caution” because they could not “be 100 percent sure that there won’t be traces of these chemicals in the tap water throughout the afternoon”.
Local stores began selling out of water after the alert.
But in an updated message to residents on Sunday. the city said sampling from the city’s water showed there was “no need to buy water at this time”.
Mr Carroll said on Sunday that rain and tidal conditions would help the river “flush itself out” and that the water in Delaware “should be ok” in a matter of days, according to US media outlets.
Source : BBC