Local authorities in Puerto Rico are distributing water from a federally designated hazardous-waste site, according to a report on Friday.
Workers from Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, the Puerto Rican water utility, pumped water from a well at the Dorado Groundwater Contamination Site and passed it on to residents, CNN reported.
Dorado was listed as a federal Superfund cleanup site in 2016 by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Puerto Rico residents wait for soldiers from the First Armored Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade to deliver food and water during recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria.
The area was polluted with industrial chemicals that “can have serious health impacts including damage to the liver and increasing the risk of cancer,” according to the EPA.
While regional EPA spokesman Elias Rodriguez confirmed the location is part of a Superfund site, local authorities said they were unaware until CNN showed them the site on a map.
More than 1.2 million people are without potable water three weeks after Hurricane Maria ravaged the U.S. territory.
There are about 24 industrial-waste sites contaminated by industries including pesticides and battery recycling, according to the EPA.
A truck fills up its water tank from a well in Dorado after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico.
(HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
The agency, which has authorized a total of $ 210 million in aid to Puerto Rico, warned earlier in the week against “tampering with sealed and locked wells or drinking from these wells, as it may be dangerous to people’s health.”