Philadelphia officials are monitoring the city’s drinking water following a major chemical spill into the Delaware River.
According to local health officials in Bucks County, between 8,100 and 12,000 liters of a water-based latex finishing solution leaked into the river late on Friday night, The Associated Press reports.
Officials couldn’t be sure that thousands of gallons of a latex finishing solution that spilled into the river hadn’t found its way into the city’s water supply, so they advised residents on Sunday morning to drink and cook with bottled water even though initial tests did not reveal any contamination.
Later, city officials would update that message, assuring the public that tap water was safe to drink on Sunday and Monday. The mixed messaging caused panic buying as people rushed into area supermarkets and cleared store shelves of bottled water.
Based on the time it takes for water to travel through treatment and water mains before reaching customers, the city’s water department estimates that water “will stay safe to drink and use” at least through Monday evening.
The Philadelphia incident follows concerns about air and water contamination in East Palestine, Ohio after toxic chemicals were released into the air following a train derailment. While officials have assured residents that water supplies were safe in both cities, some have remained reluctant.
“We know residents are concerned, and we continue to respond to this situation as updated information comes in,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said 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.”