According to Trinseo, a pipe burst at the chemical facility operated by its subsidiary Altuglas L.L.C. late March 24. Trinseo cited equipment failure for the incident.
Some of the material from the burst pipe overflowed the on-site containment system and entered a storm drain, which ultimately led to Otter Creek and then into the Delaware River.
No injuries were reported as a result of the release or the cleanup activities.
Two of the chemicals released through the burst pipe were butyl acrylate and ethyl acrylate, both colorless liquids with an acrid odor that are used for making acrylic resins for paints, caulks and adhesives.
The 110-person Altuglas plant that sits just northwest of Philadelphia makes the materials for Trinseo's Engineered Materials business.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the chemicals are hazardous to the lungs and skin. In fact, butyl acrylate was among the hazardous materials aboard the Norfolk Southern train that derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, Feb. 3.
Trinseo said the fact that the spilled material is 50-percent water and 50-percent latex polymer will help in the dissipation.
"Because the material is highly water soluble, and the release coincided with a period of rainfall, the material dissipated quickly in the water," Trinseo stated in a March 27 news release. "To assess potential impacts, water samples were collected at designated locations.
"Results received to date have not detected the released material."
The Delaware River supplies drinking water to approximately 14 million people across four states, according to the PWD website, and to about 2 million people in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Since the spill occurred in the evening of March 24, Trinseo voluntarily paused operations at the plant "to devote full resources to addressing the release and to conduct a thorough review and analysis of all material-handling processes and equipment at the Bristol facility."
"Trinseo will make improvements as necessary to achieve a standard of environmental excellence that its employees, investors and community expect and that, to date, has been a hallmark of Trinseo's business performance," the company said March 27.
Trinseo added it expects to resume partial production "within the next several days," and to resume full production shortly thereafter.
Trinseo is working to minimize any potential customer impacts.
"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," Trinseo CEO Frank Bozich said in a March 26 statement. "One of the principles ... is to be accountable and responsive to the public, especially our local communities, who have the right to understand the risks and benefits of what we do.
"The release of material has been stopped and our efforts are now focused on testing the local waterways. 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."