Newtown Water Safe After Chemical Spill Along River, Officials Say

The Newtown Artesian Water Company assured customers the tap water is safe after a chemical spill along the Delaware River.

A contractor looks at a water collection tank at the site of the spill in Bristol Township.
Credit: Tom Sofield/

The Newtown Artesian Water Company assured customers the tap water is safe after a chemical spill along the Delaware River.

“Newtown Artesian Water Company’s water is not affected by the chemical spill that occurred in Bristol,” the water company said.

The Newtown Artesian Water Company did ask customers to update their contact information to be advised of any potential issues in the future. Information can be updated by clicking here.

The Newtown Artesian Water Company serves customers in Newtown Borough, Newtown Township, and part of Middletown Township.

Wrightstown Township is rural and has no public water system, while Upper Makefield Township has a handful of local water systems in certain neighborhoods. Those systems get water from wells in the township.

On Friday night, at least 8,100 gallons and up to 12,000 gallons of a latex-related chemical spilled from the Trinseo Altuglas facility on the Dow Chemical property off Veterans Highway (Route 413) into the Otter Creek and then into the Delaware River in Bristol Township. The chemical that spilled was 50 percent water and 50 percent a latex polymer made up of butyl acrylate, ethyl acrylate, and methyl methacrylate monomer, according to reports.

Booms in the Otter Creek on Monday in the area of the spill.
Credit: Tom Sofield/

The U.S. Coast Guard, which is leading the response to the spill, said 60,000 gallons of contaminated water had been collected from the waterways.

A county spokesperson previously said the chemicals are non-toxic to humans at the levels in the waterways.

Federal authorities said there have been no reports of impacts to wildlife.

On Monday mid-morning, contracted cleanup crews were seen looking into the creek and working on large containment and filtration systems that were brought it.

“There continues to be no known adverse impacts to drinking water in Bucks County,” county emergency management officials said just before noon Monday.

“The water suppliers in the area reported this morning that contaminants from this weekend’s spill are not being detected near the intakes for their plants along the river. They say contaminants also have not been detected in the drinking water supply,” they added.

The Philadelphia Water Department issued a precautionary bottled water advisory for part of Sunday, but the advisory lapsed by late afternoon and officials said the city water was safe after testing.

The Delaware River in Bristol Township on Monday.
Credit: Tom Sofield/

Trinseo Altuglas, the company responsible for the spill, issued a statement on Monday morning.

A pipe burst at the facility on the Dow Chemical property has been reported to have caused the spill.

“Some of the material overflowed the on-site containment system and entered a storm drain, where it flowed to Otter Creek and then to the Delaware River,” the company said in their statement.

In addition, the company said: “The latex emulsion is a white liquid that is used in various consumer goods. Its pigmentation makes the water-soluble material visible in surface water. Altuglas and regulatory agencies are testing water samples in the surrounding area to confirm that the material is not a threat to people or wildlife.”

Trinseo Altuglas, which employs 110 people at their Bristol Township facility, said they alerted officials of the spill and immediately began work to mitigate it.

“The release of material has been stopped and our efforts are now focused on testing the local waterways,” said Trinseo CEO Frank Bozich. “We are conducting a thorough assessment of all of our systems and processes to identify and address potential vulnerabilities and will take the steps necessary to close any gaps, and we are grateful for the fast response and professionalism of our local first responders, as well as the efforts of the U.S. EPA, the Pennsylvania DEP and the United States Coast Guard.”

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Bucks County Special Operations Team have been working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to respond to the spill.

Along the Delaware River in Bristol Township’s Maple Beach section, Kaseem Newton, a Philadelphia resident who works in Bristol Township, was surveying the waterway. He said the water looked clear, but he harbored concerns about drinking tap water.

“It looks safe and doesn’t smell, but I don’t know if I’m ready to drink from my faucet yet,” he said. “I think I’m going to use bottles for a few days.”

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for 12 years for both newspaper and online publications. Tom’s reporting has appeared locally, nationally, and internationally across several mediums. He is proud to report on news in the county where he lives and to have created a reliable publication that the community deserves.