Puerto Rico agrees to fix inadequate water infrastructure

Dec. 29, 2015

The U.S. territorial island has agreed to invest around $77 million to improve stormwater systems in the municipality of San Juan.

NEW YORK — Dec. 23, 2015 — Puerto Rico will make major upgrades to the water infrastructure in San Juan as part of a settlement with the federal government, according to a press release.

The U.S. territorial island has agreed to invest around $77 million to improve stormwater systems in the municipality of San Juan that are currently releasing an estimated 6 million gallons of untreated sewage into local waterways every day, or more than 2.2 billion gallons every year, noted the release.

Upgrades to the water infrastructure will be carried out by Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, Department of Transportation and Public Works, and the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority, stated the release.

This work is intended to eliminate or minimize future discharges of sewage and other pollutants into water bodies in and around San Juan, including the Condado Lagoon, the Martin PeÒa Channel and the Atlantic Ocean, reported the release.

“These structural and operational improvements to the stormwater infrastructure are critical and desperately needed for the public health and well-being of San Juan’s residents,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the U.S. Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“These legal agreements will drive water quality improvements and protect the health of the people of Puerto Rico,” added Judith A. Enck, regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in the release.

The EPA will impose financial penalties if the work is not carried out on schedule.

You can find the entire release here.

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