There's still work to be done.
Three weeks after Hurricane Maria made its run through Puerto Rico, devastating the island nation, new reports reveal that Puerto Ricans are being given drinking water from potentially contaminated sites. According to workers with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), workers from the Puerto Rican water utility Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados were seen distributing water from the Dorado groundwater contamination site, an area that was designated as part of the United States’ federal initiative to clean up dangerous waste last fall.
“The EPA is gathering more information about the quality of water from the wells associated with our Dorado groundwater contamination site, as well as other Superfund sites in Puerto Rico,” the agency stated. “While some of these wells are sometimes used to provide drinking water, the EPA is concerned that people could be drinking water that may be contaminated, depending on the well.” "We are mindful of the paramount job of protecting people's health, balanced with people's basic need for water."
Since the story’s initial breaking, Representative Bennie Thompson, a ranking Democrat in the United States’ House of Representative’s Homeland Security Committee penned a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke.
"Reports of Puerto Ricans waiting hours to receive potentially contaminated water that could have long-term health consequences is beyond disturbing," Thompson said Saturday. "That it happened on days after EPA warned the people of Puerto Rico to refrain from breaking into Superfund sites to access water suggests a troubling breakdown in coordination among the federal entities playing a role in federal disaster response activities. "
Currently, 35% of the country of 3.4 million residents remain without proper potable water. The EPA has not yet tested the water to determine the level of contamination or if it poses any dire health risks. Since Hurricane Maria’s landfall, top industry names that include Fat Joe, Remy Ma, and Rihanna just to name a few have stepped up to send proper supplies and support to Puerto Rico to help residents.
“I was home with everybody watching the news, thinking about how we could help the people of Puerto Rico. I started harassing Desiree, who's my manager from Roc Nation,” Joe said during an interview with TRL. “We both started harassing Jay-Z and then, we came back and they bluffed me. And they were like 'Alright, Jay-Z's gonna pay for a plane but it fills 200,000 lbs. You gotta fill it up.”
"Everybody got together for a joint effort and we raised two million pounds," he said, "we got five planes going out but we need to fill up another five."