March 26, 2023 Leigh Martinez

Philadelphians Faced Toxic Threat In Water Supply

The Alert from the Philadelphia Water Department caused a rush on bottled water at stores and supermarkets

PennFuture and fellow PA environmental groups warned Senator Gene Yaw (R-Williamsport) that Senate Bill 545, aka “The Merck Bill,” was dangerous. 


A House bill later introduced by Representative David Zimmerman (R-Lancaster) also moves to gut Pennsylvania’s Clean Stream Law of 1937, allowing polluting companies to decide whether they need to report chemical spills, discharges, or the release of substances into our water. 


Today, Philadelphia just warned residents not to drink the water. The chemical spill happened on Friday. Philadelphians were notified on Sunday afternoon. At least the Coast Guard was there to report the chemical spill. 


The Coast Guard estimated about 8,100 gallons of latex finishing material spilled into Otter Creek - a tributary of the Delaware River - when Trinseo’s pipe burst at its chemical plant in Bristol. 


With the Clean Stream Law, companies need to report all potentially toxic spills immediately to the DEP. 


Wouldn’t you want to know if there were toxic chemicals in the water before you drink it?