NJ Water Companies Monitor 8,000-gallon Chemical Spill in PA
Two New Jersey water companies are monitoring the impact of the release of over 8,000 gallons of a chemical into a Delaware River tributary.
The U.S. Coast Guard said the latex finishing material, a water-soluble acrylic polymer solution, spilled into the Mill Creek/Otter Creek late Friday night following a "mechanical failure" at the Trinseo facility in Bristol Township in Bucks County.
The material was a 50-50 mix of water and latex polymer and the source of the release has been secured.
“It’s like the material you find in paint. It’s your typical acrylic paint you have in your house, that’s what really this material is, in a water base,” Trinseo senior vice president of manufacturing and engineering Tim Thomas said.
The Coast Guard said no product was visible along the Delaware during its shoreline patrols Sunday morning.
The clean-up was by a number of agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and NOAA. The effort is primarily focused on removing chemicals from the storm drain system and outflow located on Mill Creek.
As of Sunday evening, 60,000 gallons of contaminated water had been collected.
No impact on New Jersey American Water
New Jersey American Water told its customers that after conducting tests, its Delaware River Regional Water Treatment Plant in Delran is not impacted by the spill.
“We continue to monitor the quality of the Delaware River and have activated our business continuity plans to continue to provide safe, reliable service to customers in this three-county region,” company president Mark McDonough said in a statement.
A voluntary water conservation notice was implemented for its customers in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties to limit their non-essential water use in order to “help ensure the optimal operation" of the treatment plant.
Monitoring the impact upstream
Trenton Water Works, which is upstream from the spill, said it is “outside the current area of concern” but is monitoring source water for potential impact.
"TWW staff has been monitoring the source water and have not seen any indication of impacts at this point," the utility said in a statement, adding that it is in touch with DEP about the situation.
Acrylic latex polymer is used in the manufacture of plastics, paint and other products, according to the EPA. It can cause a strong irritant to the skin, eyes and mucous membranes and cause blindness if splashed into the eyes.
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