Congress Blasted for Focusing on TikTok While 1.5M Philadelphia Residents Scramble for Bottled Water in Wake of Chemical Spill
Over 1.5 million residents of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received an ominous text over the weekend from the city warning that they
Over 1.5 million residents of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received an ominous text over the weekend from the city warning that they should switch from tap water to bottled water.
The text came after a nearby plant spilled a chemical into a river which feeds into the Delaware River, from which Philly residents receive their drinking water.
Details about the chemical spill and the risk it poses to residents are still emerging, but Congress is facing an onslaught of criticism for yet another environmental disaster while they’re busy focusing on banning TikTok.
What to Know about the Philadelphia Latex Spill
After advising residents they may want to switch to bottled water Sunday afternoon following a chemical spill, Philadelphia officials said the city’s tap water would be safe to drink at least through Monday night.
— The Philadelphia Inquirer (@PhillyInquirer) March 26, 2023
The tap water in Philadelphia is safe to drink through tonight, according to experts – but could soon be problematic.
CBS News reports, “The Philadelphia Water Department says tap water is safe to drink in the city through 11:59 p.m. Monday after a chemical spill in Bristol Township, Bucks County.
The water department, though, is warning residents should be prepared for some problems Tuesday.
‘Based on updated hydraulic modeling and the latest sampling, we are confident tap water from the Baxter plant will remain safe to drink through 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 27,’ the water department wrote in a tweet.
The water department says the updated time is based on when the Baxter Drinking Water Treatment Plant will take river water to move through treatment and water mains before it reaches customers.”
The whole city isn’t impacted by the spill; only those east of the Schuylkill River are currently being advised to stock up on alternative drinking water.
The spill came Friday night in Bristol Township at Otter Creek.
Between 8,000 to 12,000 gallons of acrylic latex polymer was dumped into the waterway, which connects with the Delaware River.
At least one of the chemicals leaked in the spill, butyl acrylate, was considered a chemical of concern in last month’s devastating train derailment and chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio.
Officials say ethyl acrylate and methyl methacrylate also spilled into the Delaware River. The company that owns the planet, Trinseo PLC, claims that equipment failure caused the spill.
Michael Carroll, Philadelphia’s deputy managing director for transportation, infrastructure and sustainability told reporters over the weekend, “Butyl acrylate, in particular, is a chemical that was identified in the spill in East Palestine. So, we understand there are some known health effects and their established thresholds in terms of the parts per billion that the EPA feels are safe.”
They will continue monitoring water in the area. Carroll added, “Again, I want to reiterate, we have not detected any of these contaminants in our water and will continue to use that as our first basis for any decision-making that we make.”
@nickdrom Its likily not that large of a concern but the lack of transparency should raise interest until we have more info. #philly #philadelphiawater #chemicalspill #butylacrylate #ethylacrylate #methylmethacrylate #tapwater#greenscreen #greenscreenvideo ♬ Chopin Nocturne No. 2 Piano Mono – moshimo sound design
“We have enough water to sustain a safe use for drinking, cooking – all purposes – through till at least 11:59 p.m., Monday, March 27. The potential for contamination is diminishing over time.” Experts are saying that it’s unlikely to pose a threat to human health and safety, and that the city is just being cautious.
But residents aren’t so convinced. After all, East Palestine was told that their water was safe too even as fish and marine reptiles died by the thousands and water (which fed into their own homes) sparked, crackled and popped – stinking of chemicals.
Why Does TikTok Matter More Than Never-ending Environmental Disasters?
@pearlmania500 Philadelphia just got East Palestined. And now there are people scrambling for bottled water. #philadelphia #pearlmania500 #alert #philly #water #pennsylvania #camdennj #delaware #buckscounty ♬ original sound – Alex Pearlman
TikTok has taken up the cause, blasting Congress for focusing on things like TikTok bans when it’s clear that poor transportation and manufacturing regulations are leading to disaster after disaster.
Environmentalists are pushing for renewed safety requirements for trains transporting hazardous materials. On average, 3 trains derail in the US every day – but most of those don’t carry toxic chemicals. However, a drive for profit to increase the lengths of trains and the speed they can travel (while decreasing requirements for inspections and safety regulations) led to a number of safety regulations being ended under former President Donald Trump.
And it goes beyond trains, as Philadelphia proves – corporations being poorly regulated are also causing their own fair share of environmental disasters. Plant leaks are nothing new but they’ve almost become a part of the urban lexicon by now, with people who live next to plants that process chemicals expecting a spill or two from time to time.
Environmentalists say it has to stop – and the government needs to require more strict basic inspection and equipment rules to make these plants safer for area residents and the environment in general.
However, that government seems completely uninterested in tackling the issue, preferring to instead attack ByteDance, a Chinese company which owns TikTok.
The reasons for Congress’s apparent lack of interest are numerous, but it boils down to a few things.
One, the lobbyists for corporations and trail companies pay big bucks to convince congressional representatives to look the other way. Deregulation saves them money, which means more money in their pockets – so it’s in their best interest to keep Congress from tightening regulations and forcing them to comply with more strict environmental safety laws.
@pearlmania500 Update to the earlier post about water in the delaware river. #philadelphia #philly #pearlmania500 #itsgettingworse #water #buckscountypa #camdennj #pennsylvania #gobirds🦅 ♬ original sound – Alex Pearlman
Additionally, TikTok may present some valid security concerns, but the main issue that seems to be sticking in the craw of Washington politicians is that it’s a company out of their control.
Over the years, Congress has called the CEOs of companies like Twitter and Meta to heel, chastising them for certain behaviors and requiring that they comply with a number of rules and regulations.
ByteDance, not beholden to the US government, is an entity they can’t control.
In Philadelphia, for instance, word of the chemical spill leaked online through platforms like TikTok far faster than the news media was able to disseminate the information nationally.
That makes it hard for government entities like Congress to control the flow of information.
As in East Palestine and now in Philadelphia, controlling the narrative means controlling the way voters and constituents see the job they’re doing in Washington. If word of what’s really happening gets out before they can spin it in their favor, they no longer look quite as capable.
TikTokers fed up with the attack on their favorite app, and livelihoods, took to the app this week to blast Congress for wasting their time in the battle against ByteDance. They called on them to focus on Philadelphia, East Palestine, and other environmental disasters that regulation could prevent.
Congress, however, seems content to sit on their hands and pretend they’re doing an adequate job.