puerto rico water superfund orig me_00000000.jpg
puerto rico water superfund orig me_00000000.jpg
Now playing
00:51
Puerto Ricans given water from hazardous site
Stacks upon stacks of bottled water sit near a runway in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, on September 12, 2018.
Julian Quiñones/CNN
Stacks upon stacks of bottled water sit near a runway in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, on September 12, 2018.
Now playing
02:42
See untouched water bottles in Puerto Rico
SAN ISIDRO, PUERTO RICO - OCTOBER 15:  Uncollected debris stand near damaged homes in an area without electricity on October 15, 2017 in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is suffering shortages of food and water in many areas and only 15 percent of grid electricity has been restored. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, swept through.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images South America/Getty Images
SAN ISIDRO, PUERTO RICO - OCTOBER 15: Uncollected debris stand near damaged homes in an area without electricity on October 15, 2017 in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is suffering shortages of food and water in many areas and only 15 percent of grid electricity has been restored. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, swept through. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:39
Puerto Rico revises Hurricane Maria death toll
title:  duration: 00:00:00 site:  author:  published:  intervention: yes description: Radio Isla had access to vans that contained water, food, medicine and hundreds of open boxes, many of them with reptile waste and in a state of decomposition. According to sources, the supplies were for the victims of the hurricanes.
Radio Isla
title: duration: 00:00:00 site: author: published: intervention: yes description: Radio Isla had access to vans that contained water, food, medicine and hundreds of open boxes, many of them with reptile waste and in a state of decomposition. According to sources, the supplies were for the victims of the hurricanes.
Now playing
01:24
Supplies sent to Puerto Rico found abandoned
MOROVIS, PUERTO RICO - DECEMBER 20:  A resident, whose home remains without electricity, watches as debris is removed on December 20, 2017 in Morovis, Puerto Rico. Barely three months after Hurricane Maria made landfall, approximately one-third of the devastated island is still without electricity and 14 percent lack running water. While the official death toll from the massive storm remains at 64, The New York Times recently reported the actual toll for the storm and its aftermath likely stands at more than 1,000. Puerto Rico's governor has ordered a review and recount as the holiday season approaches.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images/File
MOROVIS, PUERTO RICO - DECEMBER 20: A resident, whose home remains without electricity, watches as debris is removed on December 20, 2017 in Morovis, Puerto Rico. Barely three months after Hurricane Maria made landfall, approximately one-third of the devastated island is still without electricity and 14 percent lack running water. While the official death toll from the massive storm remains at 64, The New York Times recently reported the actual toll for the storm and its aftermath likely stands at more than 1,000. Puerto Rico's governor has ordered a review and recount as the holiday season approaches. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:47
Possible epidemic in Puerto Rico after Maria hit
CNN
Now playing
02:04
Suspected deadly bacteria cases in Puerto Rico (2017)
With hurricane season starting June 1, CNN returns to Puerto Rico to see if the island is ready for another storm. Nine months after Maria, 20,000 homes are still without power- and going into the season, many mayors are worried that even a small storm will plunge them back into darkness and repeat the crisis all over again. We witness desperate Puerto Ricans illegally and dangerously turning on their own power, and press officials for answers on what will change this time around.
CNN
With hurricane season starting June 1, CNN returns to Puerto Rico to see if the island is ready for another storm. Nine months after Maria, 20,000 homes are still without power- and going into the season, many mayors are worried that even a small storm will plunge them back into darkness and repeat the crisis all over again. We witness desperate Puerto Ricans illegally and dangerously turning on their own power, and press officials for answers on what will change this time around.
Now playing
01:05
Questions surround Hurricane Maria death toll
Guest: Mayor Carmen Cruz from San Juan, PR (Facetime) Anderson in Studio 73 / Control 71 (channel 67)   Please record CTL 7100 Switched Please record CTL 7103 Clean Switched Please record CTL 7138 AC ISO Please record CTL 7139 Splits Please record CTL 7140 Big Smalls Please record GFX 905 Cruz ISO
CNN
Guest: Mayor Carmen Cruz from San Juan, PR (Facetime) Anderson in Studio 73 / Control 71 (channel 67) Please record CTL 7100 Switched Please record CTL 7103 Clean Switched Please record CTL 7138 AC ISO Please record CTL 7139 Splits Please record CTL 7140 Big Smalls Please record GFX 905 Cruz ISO
Now playing
01:59
San Juan mayor: Trump showed terrible neglect
CNN
Now playing
01:58
CNN anchor presses PR governor on death count
SAN ISIDRO, PUERTO RICO - OCTOBER 05:  Kids bike in an area without grid power or running water about two weeks after Hurricane Maria swept through the island on October 5, 2017 in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, swept through.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images
SAN ISIDRO, PUERTO RICO - OCTOBER 05: Kids bike in an area without grid power or running water about two weeks after Hurricane Maria swept through the island on October 5, 2017 in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, swept through. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:36
Puerto Ricans repair power lines themselves
ricardo rossello
CNN
ricardo rossello
Now playing
02:13
Rossello: Hell to pay if data not available
MOROVIS, PUERTO RICO - DECEMBER 20:  A resident, whose home remains without electricity, watches as debris is removed on December 20, 2017 in Morovis, Puerto Rico. Barely three months after Hurricane Maria made landfall, approximately one-third of the devastated island is still without electricity and 14 percent lack running water. While the official death toll from the massive storm remains at 64, The New York Times recently reported the actual toll for the storm and its aftermath likely stands at more than 1,000. Puerto Rico's governor has ordered a review and recount as the holiday season approaches.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images/File
MOROVIS, PUERTO RICO - DECEMBER 20: A resident, whose home remains without electricity, watches as debris is removed on December 20, 2017 in Morovis, Puerto Rico. Barely three months after Hurricane Maria made landfall, approximately one-third of the devastated island is still without electricity and 14 percent lack running water. While the official death toll from the massive storm remains at 64, The New York Times recently reported the actual toll for the storm and its aftermath likely stands at more than 1,000. Puerto Rico's governor has ordered a review and recount as the holiday season approaches. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:20
Study: Puerto Rico hurricane death toll near 5,000
A Puerto Rico Electric and Power Authority brigade work in a remote off-road location to repair a downed power transmission line in Ponce, Puerto Rico on November 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGO / TO GO WITH AFP STORY By Leila MACOR, US-PuertoRico-power-weather-reconstruction-hurricane        (Photo credit should read RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images)
RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images/FILE
A Puerto Rico Electric and Power Authority brigade work in a remote off-road location to repair a downed power transmission line in Ponce, Puerto Rico on November 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGO / TO GO WITH AFP STORY By Leila MACOR, US-PuertoRico-power-weather-reconstruction-hurricane (Photo credit should read RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:20
Puerto Rico suffers island-wide power outage
Blue tarps are still the only roofs for some homes in Corozal.
Leyla Santiago/CNN
Blue tarps are still the only roofs for some homes in Corozal.
Now playing
02:46
Puerto Rico 6 months after Hurricane Maria
CNN
Now playing
03:47
Deaths in PR still attributed to Maria
CNN
Now playing
03:45
Hurricane Maria evacuees living in FL motels

Story highlights

CNN asked a university to test water from a hazardous waste site in Puerto Rico

People had been drinking water from the site after Hurricane Maria left many without water

The test showed the water is safe; the EPA will have results later

(CNN) —  

Water from three wells at a hazardous-waste site in Dorado, Puerto Rico, is safe for human consumption, according to tests conducted for CNN by a university lab.

The Santa Rosa well on the Superfund site, from which water has been distributed by the Puerto Rican water utility, contained only trace amounts of PCE, an industrial chemical, according to the tests run by the Virginia Tech Water Quality Lab. The other two wells at the Dorado Superfund site, called Maguayo 2 and Maguayo 4, showed no signs of industrial contamination.

The EPA has taken samples from wells at the Superfund site and has said results are forthcoming.

Marc Edwards, the professor at Virginia Tech who conducted the tests for CNN, said the low level of contamination put even the Santa Rosa well safely within clean drinking water standards. All three wells are safe, he said. “I would drink” this water, he told CNN on Thursday.

“This water you sent me is meeting all federal safe drinking water standards,” said Edwards. “How that happened? It could be the way the water flows on the ground (that’s) not bringing contamination from the Superfund site to the well. Or maybe they are using some sort of treatment technology.”

Edwards is an environmental engineer and water quality specialist who also conducted testing on water in Flint, Michigan.

Last week, CNN reported locals had been drinking from at least two wells on the Dorado Groundwater Contamination Site, west of San Juan, the capital. That area was designated as a Superfund site by the US Environmental Protection Agency in September 2016.

“Sampling at the site has found chemical contamination that is impacting wells used to supply drinking water to the local communities,” the EPA said at the time. “Drinking water with the solvents, which include tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene, can have serious health impacts including damage to the liver and increasing the risk of cancer.”

This island was pummeled by Hurricane Maria on September 20, leaving about 1 million people without running water, even more than one month after the storm. CNN talked to locals who said they were desperate for water and were willing to take what they perceived as risks by drinking water from a location designated as a hazardous-waste site by the government.

The tests by Virginia Tech were not conducted according to the strictest of protocols. CNN producers collected water samples on Sunday in glass Perrier bottles and shipped them, in a cooler with ice, from Puerto Rico to the lab in Virginia. In the absence of specialized equipment in a disaster zone, the crew used alternate methods suggested by Edwards.

An unopened bottle of Perrier was sent for testing to control for any contamination.

These methods may produce slightly cleaner results than normal, Edwards said, but the levels of contamination were so low that they do not concern him.

The Santa Rosa well showed 0.7 parts per billion of PCE, the industrial contaminant, which is also known as tetrachloroethylene, Edwards said. Drinking water standards in the United States say water is safe below 5 parts per billion, he said.

The lab did not test for bacteria, which is another concern after hurricanes. But the samples showed levels of chlorine, a disinfectant, that make Edwards confident they are safe.

Following Hurricane Maria, some Puerto Ricans have resorted to bathing in rivers and mountain streams; collecting rainwater to flush toilets; and drinking from potentially risky sources.

Jason Morris and Lorraine Martinez contributed to this report.