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Water

Trinseo spills latex polymer into Delaware River

by Matt Blois
April 1, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 11

 

Environmental regulators were forced to monitor drinking water in the Philadelphia area after a chemical plant operated by Trinseo in Bristol, Pennsylvania, spilled more than 30,000 L of an acrylic latex polymer into a tributary of the Delaware River. The spill started the night of March 24 and flowed into the river until the morning of March 26. Trinseo blamed an equipment failure, saying that the liquid overflowed a containment system and went down a storm drain. The Philadelphia Water Department initially warned residents that they may want to avoid drinking tap water but later said it was safe. The department tested the city’s water for butyl acrylate, ethyl acrylate, and methyl methacrylate and didn’t detect any contaminants. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection also didn’t detect any contaminants and hasn’t found any impact on fish or other wildlife. The chemical spill follows the Feb. 3 derailment of a train carrying vinyl chloride in East Palestine, Ohio, near the border of Pennsylvania.

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