Dec 18, 2017

Two-Thirds of Puerto Ricans Face Water Contamination

Nearly 3 months after Hurricane Maria, water quality tests show coliform bacteria and E. coli

Puerto Rico struggles with water contamination

Water quality testing conducted by the Puerto Rico Department of Health discovered that more than two-thirds of Puerto Ricans are at risk for exposure to water contamination. The tests showed that more than 2.3 million Puerto Ricans receive water from systems that drew, at minimum, one sample testing positive for total coliforms or E. coli. 

According to the water quality test results, 42 cities had a water sample that tested positive for total coliforms. Out of those cities, five cities tested positive for E. coli. Currently, Puerto Ricans are operating under a boil-water advisory nearly four months after Hurricane Irma and three months after Hurricane Maria hit the island.

Prior to the hurricanes, 99.5% of Puerto Rican water was already in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The island struggled with aging water infrastructure further damaged by the hurricanes.

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