People in Puerto Rico are drinking water from hazardous waste sites

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20. More than three weeks later, only 10 percent of residents have electricity and clean drinking water is in short supply — so much so that people have reportedly been tapping hazardous waste sites just to get any water. On Wednesday, the EPA issued a press release giving updates on what it’s doing to help those affected by the hurricane:

[The] EPA is continuing to coordinate with local governments in Puerto Rico and the USVI to assess the conditions of drinking water, which includes sampling, analysis and lab support, and getting wastewater treatment systems up and running. EPA’s missions also include oil and chemical spill response, oil and chemical facility assessments and debris management.

There are reports of residents obtaining, or trying to obtain, drinking water from wells at hazardous waste “Superfund” sites in Puerto Rico. EPA advises against tampering with sealed and locked wells or drinking from these wells, as it may be dangerous to people’s health.

Did you get that, Puerto Rico? Hazardous wastewater is not good for you! What’s that? Ninety percent of you are still without power so aren’t browsing the EPA’s website for updates on what you should and should not do? And even if you were, you’d probably be too busy desperately searching for clean drinking water that you wouldn’t have time to log on anyway? So I guess you missed this part of their announcement, too:

Raw sewage continues to be released into waterways and is expected to continue until repairs can be made and power is restored. Water contaminated with livestock waste, human sewage, chemicals, and other contaminants can lead to illness when used for drinking, bathing, and other hygiene activities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people should not use the water from rivers, streams and coastal water to drink, bathe, wash, or to cook with unless first boiling this water for a minimum of one minute. If boiling the water is not possible, water may be disinfected with bleach. To learn more about making water safe in an emergency, go to CDC’s Making Water Safe in an Emergency web page.

To be fair, the EPA’s job is really just to assess the damage and work to fix it. It’s FEMA’s task — under the powers-that-be at the White House — to assist on the ground with issues like housing and, you know, water. But the data relating to essential resources like electricity and H2O mysteriously disappeared from FEMA’s website last week, just a few days after Donald Trump’s visit. Now, their Hurricane Maria page is full of information about “How to Find or Reunite With Loved Ones,” “Helping Children Cope” and “Safety Tips.”

Graphic: What to do after a storm

As for the president, he’s more interested in pimping out his Wednesday night interview with Sean Hannity:

And going all Rodney Dangerfield:

That’s when he’s not showing his support of the island’s millions of American citizens by mocking them:

But on early Thursday morning, he finally mentioned Puerto Rico again — basically to say that Puerto Rico made its own bed, financially, and that he couldn’t keep FEMA there forever:

Abraham Lincoln would have been proud.

[h/t: @DavidBegnaud | photo: AP]