Document Type

Closed Project

Publication Date

Fall 2017


Tugrul Daim

Course Title

Technology Assessment & Acquisition

Course Number

ETM 531/631


Water -- Purification -- Technological innovations, Hazard mitigation -- Puerto Rico, Groundwater -- Puerton Rico, Water resources, Water -- Purification -- Applications to residential use


The Problem: Small communities in many parts of the world do not have fresh water, especially after natural disasters.

Many Puerto Rico local governments did not investigate and maintain local water purification and pipe systems or possible superfund sites in preparation of natural disasters because they do not have enough staff due to Territory and EPA budget cuts. Local governments in Puerto Rico need to continue to react quickly because a majority of regional communities who have had community water service have not been able to restore their water systems.

According to Vox, “there have also been reports of water contaminated raw sewage and at least 74 suspected cases and two deaths from leptospirosis, a deadly animal-borne disease that can also live in water” [31]. If people in Puerto Rico keep drinking water from dirty water pump systems due to the shortage of drinking water many more people in Puerto Rico can become seriously ill and may lead to death.

Local governments in Puerto Rico need to reach out to the EPA and CDCP to provide effective strategies of water purification and help citizens by providing clean water technology to examine water that contains virus and contamination. The United States government needs to collaborate with Puerto Rico to resolve the environment issues occurring.

According to Vox, “there are 18 superfund sites in Puerto Rico, including the Dorado Groundwater Contamination Site in the north-central part of the island where some people were getting their water. The site is part of a drinking water system that serves 67,000 people” [31].

According to Peter Lopez, the newly appointed head of EPA Region II, “From my experience, communities that are struggling financially are going to be hardest pressed to respond” [31].

This is a challenge when local governments do not receive help from FEMA to have funding for the healthcare fund, superfund site investigation, maintenance of pump systems, and delivery cost for thousands of bottles of water to reach Puerto Ricans hands.

People have to use this unsafe water and they try to boil it but the taste is unacceptable. According to Oren and Atabey for USA today,

Ortiz worries that the bad-tasting, blue-colored water that runs in her pipes is unsafe. She and her aunt use it only to clean clothes and dishes, and to shower. They had tried boiling it, but “it tasted weird,” Ortiz said.

Bottled water can be hard to find and gets expensive, said her aunt, Maria Ortiz, 66. “If you are lucky to find some, a pack of 24 water bottles that used to be $3.99 now is about $7.50,” she said [32].

More and more Puerto Ricans are having a shortage of water delivered to them due to the lack of staffing.

Our Focus: Evaluate water purification technologies in communities (at the residential level) of Puerto Rico and other Island Nations which have recently been devastated by hurricanes and are suffering greatly from lack of fresh water.

Introduction: Less than 1% of the water on this planet is fresh water suitable for human use and most of that is inaccessible being frozen in polar ice caps. Climate change furthers this discrepancy when global temperatures rise. Climate becomes more radical increasing climatic extremes and causing more natural disasters.

Contamination is a great risk to our water; especially surface water where pathogenic bacteria and microbes flourish and dissolved dirt can make it turbid. This is a problem on a massive global scale, but locally it is not challenging to solve. Providing clean water and educating people locally at the residential level is relatively easy.


This project is only available to students, staff, and faculty of Portland State University

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