Philadelphia House Delegation looking ahead to protect tap water safety

The organization is advancing legislation aimed to improve cleanup of drinking water system

HARRISBURG, March 27 – The Philadelphia House Delegation today expressed its position on the challenges faced by the city following the Delaware River pollution incident occurred Friday when 81,000 gallons of acrylic latex polymer were spilled in the river by a chemical processing plant.

“We are relieved to say that Philadelphia’s water remains safe to drink -- that it has not been impacted by the chemical spill caused as a result of equipment failure at a Trinseo PlC plant,” said the delegation’s chair, state Rep. Morgan Cephas.

“This opens a door to adjustments and an exhaustive reevaluation of our emergency plan when it comes to critical situations like the one we experienced this past weekend.

“The Pennsylvania Constitution guarantees the right to pure water for all Pennsylvanians. While it appears we may have avoided an environmental catastrophe in this situation, our city and state must be prepared for potential disasters in the future,” Cephas said about the spill that happened Friday in Bucks County.

Danilo Burgos, vice chair of the delegation, emphasized that as the city moves forward, the Philadelphia House Delegation will diligently collaborate with city officials to improve the emergency response to similar health threats.

“We have been closely monitoring the situation and we know that that this incident has raised concerns with our residents. We want to make sure that they know that public safety at all levels is top priority for the delegation,” Burgos said.

“Part of our Philadelphia Platform calls for infrastructure and climate readiness, and our delegation members have introduced several bills to address chemicals in drinking water and assistance through Pennvest for cleanup of water systems affected by hazardous contamination,” Burgos added.

Rep. Malcom Kenyatta, delegation treasurer, put on the table the need to connect all the dots together in order to provide a full picture to Philadelphians.

“One thing is damn clear – there must be accountability for this spill, which has made our water potentially unsafe and caused panic throughout our communities. We deserve honest and detailed answers around what happened so that we can ensure it never occurs again,” Kenyatta said.