The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

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Latex Spill In Delaware River Leaves Area Residents Concerned

Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Residents of some parts of Philadelphia were left to deal with the after-effects of a latex product spill in the Delaware River that occurred on Friday, March 24 into Saturday, March 25.

Health officials in Bucks County and Philadelphia reported a leak coming from “Trinseo Altuglas Chemical Facility” in Bristol, PA.

Fortunately, officials from Philadelphia and Bucks County have been reporting that “water is in fact safe to drink as of right now.”

While the leak was only a water-based latex finishing solution, it is considered to be a hazardous chemical to consume. The leak itself was between 8,100 and 12,000 gallons of a water-soluble acrylic polymer solution, containing chemicals like methyl methacrylate, butyl acrylate and ethyl acrylate.

Bucks County officials reassured residents that water treatment plants are continuously being monitored and so far, have shown no negative impacts on drinking water quality. This, however, did not relieve residents of their concern for their safety.

When asked how this event has changed her day-to-day living, Levittown resident Stephanie Chapman, 53, says she refuses to give her cats anything besides bottled water now, and even goes as far as to say, “honestly, I won’t even water my flowers with it [tap water] because you just don’t know anymore.”

Chapman uses a Brita water filter system, but even then, she is still unsure if it is effective. She claims “to have very little trust in water filtration systems anymore.”

Regarding the future, Chapman says “I’m more aware now and I think I’ll always be a little bit nervous. Most of these factories are right on the water and that fact alone makes you wonder – how many times this has already happened?”

Looking into the facility’s history, it appears that this is not the first time this has happened to “Trinseo Altuglas”. Over the past decade, there have been a number of instances in which hazardous material was spilled into the Delaware river. Granted, none of this capacity.

This stance brings forth the question of how safe our water is. How effective are our filtered water systems? Those questions make ‘panic-buying’ water from grocery stores seem reasonable and logical.

In situations like the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters, water and other essentials become scarce almost instantaneously. The panicked frenzy that this event has sent Philadelphia into has left grocery store shelves bare in terms of water.

At what point does hoarding cases of water become unethical and selfish? Bristol Township resident Alison Schmukler, 20, feels that hoarding water is “a bit extra” and there should “definitely be a limit on how much you can purchase.”

Schmukler also gives her furry friends bottled water instead of tap, but as for herself she sticks to her Brita filter. Water filters are a lot of residents’ answers to this issue.