By Aylin Woodward
It is almost a month since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, yet nearly 80 per cent of the island is still without electrical power and more than 30 per cent of people there don’t have access to potable drinking water.
The US Environmental Protection Agency reports that some citizens are so desperate for drinkable water that they have resorted to obtaining it from wells on a contaminated site, despite signs warning of danger.
The Dorado Ground Water Contamination site, which lies west of capital city San Juan on Puerto Rico’s northern coast, contains wells that once provided water to nearly 67,000 people. The EPA added it to its Superfund list of hazardous sites last September, but had not started cleaning it up when Maria struck.
EPA information from two years ago shows that some wells in the western part of the site are contaminated, whereas some of those in the eastern part meet drinking water standards. On Sunday, the agency said it had taken samples from three western locations that people had used for drinking water and expected results “by the end of next week”. The EPA says it has also reinstalled fences to secure the contaminated wells so people can’t access them.
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