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ATSDR Press Room

Final Report on Cabo Rojo Ground Water Contamination


Cabo Rojo County, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

Friday, September 28, 2012

View page in Spanish (Español)

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has released its final public health assessment for the Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, Ground Water Contamination site. The report finds that current exposures to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in municipal water are not expected to harm public health. Although low levels of VOCs have been found in some municipal water supply wells, they remained within federal drinking water standards.

ATSDR focused its assessment on exposure to VOCs in municipal well water. Other potential exposure pathways are being evaluated as more data are collected from the site. ATSDR will evaluate additional data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and update the findings of this PHA if necessary.

In the report, ATSDR finds that:

  • Current exposures to VOCs in municipal water from the Cabo Rojo system are not likely to harm people’s health. The public supply wells have remained within federal drinking water standards for the VOCs detected.
  • Because the source and extent of the contamination have not been identified, exposures to VOCs in municipal water have the potential to harm public health in the future, depending on how much is released, how often and for how long people use the water.
  • ATSDR needs more information to assess potential risks from exposure near possible source areas and use of private well water.
  • ATSDR needs more information to confirm that vapors from the groundwater are not building up in homes in the area. EPA sampling in early 2012 did not show any harmful levels of VOCs in air inside buildings near possible source areas, but high levels of VOCs remain in soil beneath some buildings.

ATSDR recommends that:

  • EPA continue its efforts to identify and characterize the contamination.
  • EPA take actions to address and prevent groundwater contamination.
  • EPA develop a sampling plan to confirm that VOC levels in indoor air remain low.
  • The Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority continue frequent monitoring of the municipal wells’ water quality to ensure that the municipal water supply continues to meet federal standards.

The final report is available for review at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/PHA/HCPHA.asp?State=PR.

A copy of the report has also been placed at the Biblioteca Blanca E. Colberg Rodríguez, Calle Ruíz Belvis # 48 in Cabo Rojo.

For more information, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).

ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the potential for adverse human health effects due to exposure to hazardous substances in the environment.

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Related News Releases For Cabo Rojo County, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

 

Reporte final sobre la contaminación del agua subterránea de Cabo Rojo
Release Date: Friday, September 28, 2012
La Agencia para Sustancias Tóxicas y el Registro de Enfermedades (ATSDR) ha publicado la versión final de la evaluación de salud pública del sitio de contaminación de agua subterránea de Cabo Rojo. No se espera que los niveles de exposición a los compuestos orgánicos volátiles (COV) en el agua municipal perjudiquen la salud pública.

ATSDR Releases Draft Findings on Cabo Rojo Ground Water Contamination
Release Date: Friday, October 21, 2011
Current exposures to VOCs in municipal water are not expected to harm public health, says the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in its draft public health assessment for the Cabo Rojo Ground Water Contamination site in Cabo Rojo, PR. Low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been found in some municipal water supply wells, but none of the VOCs measured have exceeded federal drinking water standards.

La ATSDR publica hallazgos provisionales sobre la contaminación del agua subterránea de Cabo Rojo
Release Date: Friday, October 21, 2011
No se prevé que la exposición actual a compuestos orgánicos volátiles en el agua municipal perjudique la salud pública, indica la Agencia para Sustancias Tóxicas y el Registro de Enfermedades (ATSDR) en su Evaluación de Salud Pública provisional del sitio de contaminación de agua subterránea de Cabo Rojo en Puerto Rico. Se encontraron niveles bajos de compuestos orgánicos volátiles (COV) en algunos de los pozos de abastecimiento de agua municipal, pero ninguna cantidad de los COV medidos excedió los estándares federales para el agua potable.

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