Page:EPA Responds to Puerto Rico Earthquakes; Assessing Sites and Facilities to Help the Puerto Rico Government.pdf/2

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”DNER is working in close coordination with the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Bureau and federal agencies, such as EPA, to respond to incidents that may affect the environment and citizens of the impacted areas. We are also assisting in the establishment of Temporary Debris Management Centers and providing technical assistance to evaluate the location and establishment of shelter facilities. DNER is working to ensure compliance with land, water and air rules and regulations. Our collective efforts to help the people affected by these seismic events won’t rest until the region is stabilized,” said Armando Otero, Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER).

“The help of the federal government has been crucial in the recovery process of past emergencies and instrumental during the response stage of the current emergency Puerto Rico is facing after the recent seismic events. We are certain that with the support of agencies like the EPA, many lives will be saved, and a more resilient island will be built. The oversight to the community aqueducts and the improvement of those facilities will help to sustain health and the prevention of diseases. We look forward to keep strengthening our ties to overcome this new challenge, which has impacted different environmental aspects of our island, so that our citizens quickly recover and are better prepared for any future emergency,” said Dr. Rafael Rodríguez Mercado, Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Health.

EPA is assisting USACE and the government of Puerto Rico as they determine the operational status of and conduct damage and needs assessments at drinking water and wastewater facilities, including those systems not operated by the public utility, Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA). EPA has a robust and close partnership with the small drinking water systems not managed by PRASA. Approximately 3% of Puerto Rico’s population is served by non­PRASA and private drinking water systems through approximately 240 facilities throughout the island. Together with community entities, non­profit organizations and academic institutions under a Water Coalition, EPA is working to assess the needs of these systems and take action to make them more sustainable and resilient.

EPA is in the process of determining the operational status of oil and chemical facilities on the island. This includes determining if facilities currently have power or backup power, whether there were any oil or chemical releases, and whether such releases could potentially occur due to damage at the facility.

EPA has received information about all of the 23 bulk oil facilities in Puerto Rico, with two facilities reporting releases that were contained in secondary containment onsite. EPA is partnering with the U.S. Coast Guard to confirm that these spills are under control.

EPA has also gathered information about the 51 Puerto Rico chemical facilities subject to EPA’s Risk Management Plan requirements. Currently, there appear to be no major visible issues at