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ATSDR releases health report for public comments about the Hormigas water system in Caguas, Puerto Rico

Caguas County, Caguas, Puerto Rico

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

View page in Spanish (Español)

“Harmful effects from exposure to chemicals are not expected in people who used the Hormigas water system because the contaminants were below levels of health concern” says The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in its Public Health Assessment released today for the Hormigas Sector, Caguas, Puerto Rico, Ground Water Plume site.

The Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) closed the Hormigas public water system in 2009 because chemicals were found in one of the wells in 2006. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tested the well and found the same chemicals again in 2009. The chemicals found in the well were perchloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE) and cis-1, 2-dichloroethene (cis-1,2-DCE). These chemicals are manmade and used as solvents (chemicals that are used to dissolve or clean things).

The source of the chemicals in the water is not known.  EPA is working to identify the source of the chemicals that contaminated the water.

In April 2011, ATSDR and other agencies including the Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDOH), the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources (PRDNR), PRASA and EPA visited the area to gather information about the site and talked to people about their concerns.

“The community is not currently exposed to chemicals in the water supply wells because the wells were closed in 2009”, says Karen Scruton, Environmental Health Scientist. “People now get all of their water from the Cidra filtration plant and the water is clean and meets drinking water standards,” she added.

PRASA will continue to monitor the water from the Cidra filtration plant to make sure it meets drinking waters standards.

The report is available for review at

A copy of the report has also been placed at the Autonomous Municipality of Caguas Environmental Affairs Office in the following address:

Centro de Gobierno Municipal Ángel Rivera Rodríguez
Calle Padial final, Esquina Ave. José Mercado
Oficina de Asuntos Ambientales- Piso 1
Caguas, Puerto Rico 00726

ATSDR will accept public comments on the document until April 19, 2013.

Comments on the health consultation must be made in writing. Comments received during the public comment period, as well as ATSDR’s response to those comments, will be included in an appendix in the final Public Health Assessment report. Names of those who submit comments will be subject to release in answer to requests made under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Send comments to:, or mail to:

ATSDR Records Center
Attn: Rolanda Morrison
Re: Hormigas Site Public Health Assessment
4770 Buford Highway, NE (MS F-09)
Atlanta, Georgia 30341

For more information about the public health assessment, community members can call 1-800-CDC- INFO (1-800-232-4636). The caller should state they are requesting information about the Hormigas Sector site in Puerto Rico.


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 Caguas County, Caguas, Puerto Rico


La ATSDR publica reporte de salud para comentarios públicos sobre el sistema de agua Hormigas en Caguas, PR
Release Date: Wednesday, March 06, 2013
No se esperan efectos perjudiciales a la salud en la personas que utilizaron el agua del sistema público de Hormigas debido a que los contaminantes estaban por debajo de los niveles de dañinos a la salud”, afirma la Agencia para Sustancias Tóxicas y el Registro de Enfermedades (ATSDR por sus siglas en Inglés)

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