Puerto Ricans are reportedly being given drinking water from Superfund sites, areas that may be contaminated with hazardous waste, amid an ongoing lack of accessible clean water after Hurricane Maria.
On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency officials noted that they’d heard reports of people trying to obtain water from “Hazardous waste” sites and warned against the practice in a statement “As it may be dangerous to people’s health”:
There are reports of residents obtaining, or trying to obtain, drinking water from wells at hazardous waste “Superfund” sites in Puerto Rico.
EPA documents from 2016 show that the Dorado site has contaminated areas that affect local wells and “Confirm the presence of hazardous substances in the aquifer”:
Ground water is contaminated with organic based solvents, primarily tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene, which are commonly used in commercial and industrial operations such as dry cleaning and metal degreasing.
And the EPA noted on Thursday that water safety remains an issue, warning people to disinfect fresh water by boiling or using bleach:
Raw sewage continues to be released into waterways and is expected to continue until repairs can be made and power is restored. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people should not use the water from rivers, streams and coastal water to drink, bathe, wash, or to cook with unless first boiling this water for a minimum of one minute. If boiling the water is not possible, water may be disinfected with bleach.