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Hurricane Maria Response

Site Contact:
Elias Rodriguez
Public Information Officer


Site Location:
Hurricane Maria Response Edison, NJ 08854

Check out our Hurricane Maria Story Map here.


EPA’s hurricane response mission in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands has been completed. Our work is now focused on long-term recovery, including solid waste management, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure issues.

EPA is coordinating recovery needs with FEMA and other federal agencies and will continue to support the governments and citizens of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) as they build more resilient communities.

Hurricane Maria Accomplishments:
At the peak of its response to Hurricane Maria, EPA had more than 450 response personnel focused on emergency work in Puerto Rico and the USVI. More than 700 personnel, many doing multiple rotations, responded from throughout the United States. Working closely with our federal, commonwealth and territory partners, local officials and communities, a considerable amount of work was accomplished.

In Puerto Rico, EPA:
• Deployed more than 100 community involvement coordinators from all EPA regions and headquarters to assist residents and local municipalities with collection of household hazardous materials.
• Collected more than 320,000 containers of hazardous materials, including drums, propane tanks, cylinders, electronics, and batteries.
• Extracted Freon from household “white goods” throughout the island.
• Collected almost 60 tons of solid hazardous waste for shipment and disposal off-island.
• Collected 285 gallons of liquid hazardous waste for shipment and proper disposal off-island.
• Collected 1500 gallons of liquid non-hazardous waste for recycling or reuse in Puerto Rico.
• Assessed all 51 wastewater treatment plants and hundreds of pumping stations.
• Assisted the U.S. Coast Guard in the assessment and recovery and removal of hazardous substances from 377 vessels
• Assessed 237 rural, “non-PRASA” (Non-Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority) drinking water systems.
• Assessed 177 chemical and hazardous waste and oil facilities.
• Supported the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board’s efforts to restore its science laboratory.
• Repaired, re-energized and rebooted Puerto Rico’s air monitoring network.

In the USVI, EPA:
• Collected and transported off-island for proper disposal more than 145,000 items of waste, keeping them out of landfills and out of harm’s way. Items included different types of containers, drums, propane tanks, cylinders, batteries, and freon extraction.
• Bagged and transported 15 tons of medical waste out of the USVI for proper disposal off-island.
• Collected and shipped off-island for proper disposal 38 tons of solid hazardous waste.
• Collected and shipped off-island for proper disposal 1800 gallons of liquid hazardous waste.
• Collected 8300 gallons of liquid non-hazardous waste for recycling or reuse.
• Assisted the U.S. Coast Guard in the assessment and recovery of 477 sunken or grounded vessels; hazardous substances were removed from 327 of them.
• Assessed eight municipal wastewater treatment plants.
• Collected and analyzed more than 2,400 drinking water samples to advise system operators on any problems with the quality of their drinking water.
• Assessed 123 chemical and hazardous waste and oil facilities.
• Conducted air monitoring around marine vessel crushing operations and construction and demolition debris operations to safeguard health and safety.

Important Resources
Map of Ambient Air Stations in Puerto Rico
Videos About Household Hazardous Waste Collection
Flood Clean Up and the Air in Your Home Factsheet

Debris Management and Hazardous Materials
Hurricanes generate vast amounts of debris and hazardous waste, and Hurricanes Irma and Maria generated enough debris to fill Yankee Stadium seven times. EPA was the lead federal agency responsible for the collection and proper disposal of oil and hazardous waste material. EPA also worked to collect and ensure the proper disposal of medical waste in the USVI.

Household hazardous waste can contaminate the land, waterways, and groundwater if improperly disposed of. Household hazardous waste includes batteries, aerosol cans, household cleaners and chemicals, paint, and electronic waste like computers and televisions. Batteries are a major concern due to the large volume of batteries being used by residents who are without power.

Marine Operations
EPA supported the U.S. Coast Guard in the recovery of submerged or damaged vessels. EPA was part of multi-agency field teams that located and assessed the condition of sunken vessels and removal of hazardous materials.

Assessment of Superfund Sites, Oil Sites and Regulated Facilities
EPA has completed assessments at regulated facilities, EPA-led Superfund sites, oil sites, and chemical facilities in both Puerto Rico and the USVI to determine if the sites were affected by Hurricane Maria. EPA did not identify any major spills or releases from these facilities associated with Hurricane Maria.

Drinking Water and Wastewater Management
EPA supported federal, territorial and local government efforts to ensure clean water for residents though sampling, analysis and technical support across Puerto Rico and the USVI. EPA evaluated drinking water systems not managed by PRASA, or “non-PRASA” systems, and supported efforts to return Puerto Rico’s drinking water systems to pre-storm conditions.

EPA collected samples of drinking water in both Puerto Rico and the USVI from water systems to help the governments and water systems providers make decisions on how to best address any water quality problems found. Additionally, waste water treatment plants were assessed.

To report suspected spills, contamination or possible violations:
• To report oil, chemical, or hazardous substance releases or spills, call the National Response Center 1-800-424-8802 (24 hours a day every day). For those without 800 access, please call 202-267-2675.

For general questions about EPA’s response in Region 2, please call 1-888-283-7626 during regular business hours.

For Spanish speakers, please call our Caribbean Environmental Protection Division at 787-977-5865.

Recursos importantes
Mapa de estaciones del aire ambiental en Puerto Rico
Videos acerca de los centros de acopio de desechos domésticos peligrosos
Hoja informativa sobre limpieza tras inundaciones y el aire en su hogar

Para reportar sospechas de derrames, contaminación o posibles infracciones:
• Para reportar derrames o liberación de petróleo/aceite, sustancias químicas o peligrosas, llame al Centro Nacional de Respuesta al 1-800-424-8802 (las 24 horas del día). Si no tiene acceso a números con 800, por favor llame al 202-267-2675.

Para preguntas generales acerca de la respuesta de la EPA en la Región 2, sírvase llamar al 1-888-283-7626 durante horarios normales de atención.

A los usuarios que hablen español, se les ruega llamar a nuestra División de Protección Ambiental del Caribe al 787-977-5865.

Actualización de EPA sobre el huracán María - Otoño de 2018 *** ESTA PAGINA HA SIDO ARCHIVADA Y NO ESTA SIENDO ACTUALIZADA ***

La EPA y sus socios federales continuarán apoyando a los gobiernos y ciudadanos de Puerto Rico y de las Islas Vírgenes Estadounidenses (USVI) durante los años venideros a medida que construyen comunidades resistentes. Ha concluido la misión de respuesta tras el huracán en Puerto Rico y las USVI, y ahora nuestro trabajo se enfoca en la recuperación a largo plazo.

Logros tras el huracán María:
Al nivel máximo de su respuesta al huracán María, la EPA tuvo más de 450 empleados dedicados a ello y enfocados en el trabajo de emergencia en Puerto Rico y las USVI. Trabajando estrechamente con nuestros socios federales, del estado libre asociado y de territorios, funcionarios y comunidades locales, se logró efectuar una cantidad considerable de trabajo.

En Puerto Rico, la EPA:
• Desplegó más de 100 coordinadores de participación comunitaria de todas las regiones de la EPA y de la sede central para asistir a los residentes y municipios locales con la recolección de materiales domésticos peligrosos.
• Se recolectaron más de 320,000 contenedores de materiales peligrosos, incluidos drones, tanques de propano, cilindros, artículos electrónicos y baterías.
• Se extrajo freón de electrodomésticos en toda la isla.
• Se recolectaron casi 60 toneladas de desechos sólidos peligrosos para enviarlos y desecharlos fuera de la isla.
• Se recolectaron 285 toneladas de desechos líquidos peligrosos para enviarlos y desecharlos debidamente fuera de la isla.
• Se recolectaron 1500 galones de desechos líquidos no peligrosos para reciclar o reutilizar en Puerto Rico.
• Se evaluaron las 51 plantas de tratamiento de aguas residuales y cientos de estaciones de bombeo.
• Se brindó asistencia a los Guardacostas de los EE. UU. en la evaluación y recuperación y eliminación de sustancias peligrosas de 377 embarcaciones
• Se evaluaron 237 sistemas rurales de agua potable, “fuera de la red de AAA” (que no son de la Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados de Puerto Rico).
• Se evaluaron 177 instalaciones de sustancias químicas y desechos peligrosos y petróleo.
• Se apoyó la labor de la Junta de Calidad Ambiental de Puerto Rico para restablecer su laboratorio científico.
• Se reparó, energizó y se puso en servicio nuevamente la red de monitoreo del aire de Puerto Rico.

En las USVI, la EPA:
• Recolectó y transportó fuera de las islas para desechar debidamente más de 145,000 artículos de desecho, manteniéndolos fuera de vertederos e impidiendo que causaran daño. Los artículos incluyeron diferentes tipos de contenedores, drones, tanques de propano, cilindros, baterías y extracción de freón.
• Se pusieron en bolsas y se transportaron 15 toneladas de desechos médicos fuera de las USVI para desecharlos debidamente fuera de las islas.
• Se recolectaron y enviaron fuera de las islas para desechar debidamente 38 toneladas de desechos sólidos peligrosos.
• Se recolectaron y enviaron fuera de las islas para desechar debidamente 1800 galones de desechos líquidos peligrosos.
• Se recolectaron 8300 galones de desechos líquidos no peligrosos para reciclar o reutilizar.
• Se brindó asistencia a los Guardacostas de los EE. UU. en la evaluación y recuperación de 477 embarcaciones hundidas o encalladas; se eliminaron sustancias peligrosas de 327 de ellas.
• Se evaluaron ocho plantas municipales de tratamiento de aguas residuales.
• Se recolectaron y analizaron más de 2,400 muestras de agua potable para notificar a los operadores del sistema acerca de cualquier problema con la calidad del agua potable.
• Se evaluaron 123 instalaciones de sustancias químicas y desechos peligrosos y petróleo.
• Se efectuó el monitoreo del aire en operaciones de aplastamiento de embarcaciones marítimas y operaciones de construcción y demolición de escombros para resguardar la salud y la seguridad.