Monday afternoon update on drinking water

City Provides Updates on Response to Chemical Spill on Delaware River​
Safe to drink timeline extension: Tap water from the Baxter Drinking Water Treatment Plant will remain safe to drink and use at least through 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28, 2023

PHILADELPHIA – City officials provided an update to the City’s response to a chemical spill on the Delaware River at a press briefing at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 27, 2023.

The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) is now confident that tap water from the Baxter Drinking Water Treatment Plant will remain safe to drink and use at least through 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.

This assurance is due to the treatment and continuous testing of water that is currently available to residents. No contaminants from the Bristol Township spill have been detected in the Delaware River water: tap water continues to be safe.

Residents should continue to use tap water as they normally would. Philadelphia’s tap water is safe to drink, cook with, shower in, etc.

Contaminants related to the Bristol Township discharge have not been found in PWD’s water system at this time. PWD continues to track the spill closely. If at any point the water quality sampling indicates a potential impact to the river water entering the Baxter Water Treatment Plant, we will notify the public immediately. Residents can find out if they live in a potentially impacted area here.

We expect that there will be no residual plume and no contamination of residual water by Wednesday or Thursday. We will continue testing to guarantee that we did not bring any contaminated water into our system. A conservative estimate allows us to expect that this event will be completely resolved by next week.

“We understand the legitimate concern that is felt by the public as the release of chemicals into our waterways can pose a major threat to our health and safety,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The Philadelphia Water Department is working around the clock to ensure that this does not happen and that our water remains safe to drink and use. I encourage residents who want to make sure they have water available to fill bottles or pitchers of tap water and am confident that there is no risk at this time as no contaminants have been detected in the Delaware River water. Again, tap water continues to be safe.”

The effort to monitor the Delaware River and water at the Baxter intakes has been coordinated by experts at the Philadelphia Water Department, the PA DEP, U,S. Coast Guard, and multiple regional utilities.

Stay Informed

  • Any drinking water quality incident requiring public notification would be announced through ReadyPhiladelphia notifications and the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management. PWD has been monitoring the incident since being alerted and is using computer models to monitor the flow of the spill.
  • To get alerts about drinking water quality, sign up for ReadyPhiladelphia by texting READYPHILA to 888-777 for free phone alerts or customize free text and email alerts by visiting the Office of Emergency Management’s website at
  • For official updates from the City, follow @PhilaOEM on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Other City Twitter accounts to follow for information: @PhiladelphiaGov and @PhillyH2O.