Dorado, Puerto Rico (CNN)Jose Luis Rodriguez waited in line Friday to fill plastic containers in the back of his pickup with water for drinking, doing the meals and bathing.
But there is something about this water Rodriguez didn’t understand: It was being pumped to him by water authorities from a federally designated hazardous-waste website, CNN found out after examining Superfund files and speaking with regional and federal authorities.
Rodriguez, 66, is so desperate for water that this news didn’t surprise him.
” I do not have an option,”he stated.”This is the only alternative I have.”
Più di 3 weeks after Hurricane Maria wrecked this island, more than 35% of the island’s citizens– American people– stay without safe drinking water.
It’s clear some locals are relying on possibly dangerous sources to obtain by.
Friday afternoon, CNN enjoyed employees from the Puerto Rican water energy, Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, or AAA, disperse water from a well at the Dorado Groundwater Contamination Site, which was noted in 2016 as part of the federal Superfund program for contaminated materials clean-up.
Residents like Rodriguez filled little bottles from a pipe and stacked them in their lorries. Big trucks with round tanks on their backs brought the water to individuals somewhere else. A few of the trucks brought the name of the town of Dorado. Others merely were identified with the words “Agua Potable,” Spanish for safe and clean water.
In revealing the addition of the Dorado website to the Superfund program, the United States Environmental Protection Agency states the location was contaminated with commercial chemicals, consisting of tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene, quale “can have severe health effects consisting of damage to the liver and increasing the threat of cancer,” inning accordance with the EPA.
EPA ‘collecting more info’
It’s uncertain whether there are public health threats from this specific well.
The EPA stated it prepares to do screening in the location over the weekend.
“The EPA is collecting more info about the quality of water from the wells connected with our Dorado groundwater contamination website, in addition to other Superfund websites in Puerto Rico,” the firm stated in a declaration provided to CNN on Friday. “While a few of these wells are often utilized to offer drinking water, the EPA is worried that individuals might be consuming water that might be infected, depending upon the well. We bear in mind the vital task of safeguarding individuals’s health, stabilized with individuals’s fundamental requirement for water.”
Regional EPA spokesperson Elias Rodriguez validated the place belongs to a Superfund website.
Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, the water authority, was uninformed that this well website belonged to the Superfund program till CNN offered maps revealing that this held true, inning accordance with Luis Melendez, sub-director for ecological compliance at the energy.
Melendez kept the water is suitabled for public usage. The well was opened on an emergency situation basis and is not part of the routine drinking water system, ha dichiarato.
In 2015, this well in Dorado, which lies near a shopping mall, was discovered by the EPA to be securely within federal requirements for PCE and chloroform, 2 commercial chemicals.
‘I’ve never ever seen this prior to’
Martyn Smith, a teacher of toxicology at the University of California, Berkeley, informed CNN the levels of PCE and chloroform would be basically safe for human intake. “I would not have any issue in drinking this water if these were the only chemicals in it,” ha dichiarato. The issue with Superfund websites, ha dichiarato, is that you do not know exactly what else exists.
“I’ve never ever seen this in the past,” ha dichiarato, describing the concept a Superfund website would be utilized as a source of public drinking water. Boiling the water, ha dichiarato, would decrease possible contamination. And it’s rather reasonable, Smith included, that individuals in Puerto Rico would rely on perhaps doubtful drinking water sources offered the scope of the crisis.
Still, a Superfund website– an area with recognized health threats– is almost the last location an individual would wish to rely on discover drinking water, even in a crisis, stated Erik Olson, head of the health program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an ecological advocacy group.
“There are countless chemicals out there that might be in a Superfund website and just a relative handful are covered by requirements,” ha dichiarato. “What I would be fretted about is things that isn’t really appearing on EPA’s drinking water requirements. It simply sounds truly dangerous to me to be serving water from a Superfund well.”
People waiting in line for water on Friday were mainly uninformed of these issues. A few of them had actually heard the EPA revealed today that it had actually gotten reports that Puerto Ricans were getting water from Superfund websites. Those talked to presumed that wasn’t this well.
Mayra Perez, a 59-year-old senior citizen, revealed pride in the quality of the water.
“I’m sure there are no chemicals in this water,” lei ha dichiarato.
Aixa Chevere, a mom of 2, stated she would discover a brand-new source of water if this website was revealed to be polluted. Currently, the household invests 3 a 4 hours daily waiting in lines for standard services and items, consisting of water. “We would boil the water or look for mineral water” if it threatened, lei ha dichiarato. “We would discover some other option.”
That day, tuttavia, she filled the water into her trunk of her automobile.