The EPA said it is working with local municipalities in Puerto Rico to get drinking wells up and running, but noted that some communities are in need of electrical generators to get the wells functioning. Forty-five deaths in Puerto Rico have been blamed on Maria, 90 percent of the island is still without power and the government says it hopes to have electricity restored completely by March.
Ryan says "we've got to do more to help Puerto Rico rebuild its own economy" but that the immediate humanitarian crisis must be addressed.
"There are reports of residents obtaining, or trying to obtain, drinking water from wells at hazardous waste "Superfund" sites in Puerto Rico", the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a release.
Democrats said Trump's attacks were "shameful", given that the 3 million-plus USA citizens on Puerto Rico are confronting the kind of hardships that would draw howls of outrage if they affected a state.
Water has been an issue in the weeks following Hurricane Maria, with residents tapping into pipes along the roadside and lining up at public spigots to trap water in any container they can carry. Puerto Rico has about 24 industrial waste sites contaminated by industries including pesticides and battery recycling. There are now 18 sites in Puerto Rico on the National Priorities List.
The mayor tweeted that Trump is "incapable of fulfilling the moral imperative to help the people of PR. Shame on you!"
President Donald Trump slammed Puerto Rico Thursday, claiming its critical infrastructure was a "disaster" before it was hit by two hurricanes and threatened to pull out emergency management personnel from the storm-ravaged island.
Trump's comments are his latest remarks on Puerto Rico to offer a mix of criticism and support - and to draw what seems to be a direct response from local politicians in the US territory. According to Puerto Rican officials, 64 percent of people have access to water.