NON-FUNCTIONAL. This P5 million drainage project in front of the Central Market seems not to function as flooding and foul odor are noticed in the area up to the road fronting the Island City Mall. Can City Hall explain well why flooding continues. Foto DANNY REYES
||The much awaited water treatment facility which is needed to save the seawaters at the City Port from turning into like the dirty waters at Manila port will start construction not later than August this year.
This was the pronouncement made yesterday by City Mayor Dan Lim in the wake of mounting public clamor to address the drainage problem in the city. The project is estimated to cost P100 million which will be funded by a loan with the Development Bank of the Phils (DBP).
The mayor said he will await the formal authority from the Sangguniang Panlungsod regarding the DBP loan to finance the water treatment facility to be constructed near the Shell depot along Graham Ave. this city, where the water outfall is situated.
The construction of the facility will be completed between 9 to 12 months, Lim said after consultation with Engr. Cecil Corloncito, city environmental consultant.
The city government will still determine the scheme in funding the project, he continued.
Meantime, the inspection of septic tanks of houses and business firms along CPG Ave did not materialize last Wednesday as earlier mentioned by the mayor. However, he said the team from the City Health Office under Dr. Antonio Porticos will field this week to conduct said inspection.
Earlier, the mayor said that those found without septic tanks will “suffer the consequence under the law…”
WATER LAB RESULTS OUT
Laboratory results of water samples taken from the city’s drainage shows it is more dangerous to keep the outfall closed than having it opened.
City environmental consultant Engr. Cecil Corloncito confirmed his initial pronouncement that while a water treatment plant has yet to be constructed, opening the drainage outfall has lesser consequences than keeping household and commercial waste water stagnant in the drainage system.
Corloncito bared that water samples taken from the drainage show the pollution level during rainy days at 10 parts per million (PPM) which is below the environmentally acceptable standard of 50 parts per million (PPM).
However, when it is not raining, the laboratory results show that concentration of pollutants in the drainage is 84 PPM.
At this level of pollution, Corloncito explained, if the waste water is discharged into the sea, it can easily be diluted.
According to Corloncito, exposing waste water to oxygen can further dilute the concentration of pollutants.
He said that keeping the wastes inside the drainage could exponentially increase its pollution content to over 1,000 PPM.
“This is the reason why I have been recommending for the opening of the outfall,” Corloncito said.
“It should be understood by the public that if waste is not exposed to air, the bio-chemical oxygen demand (BOD) or the strength of pollution increases exponentially,” he said.
Corloncito stressed that while the pollution is still within manageable levels, the best thing to do would be to establish a water treatment plant at the outfall.
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||“Eventually, the increasing population of the city will have a greater impact in the years to come,” he explained.
According to Corloncito, the water sampling and analysis should have long been done by the DENR.
The result of the tests would be the basis for the design of the water treatment, the city consultant said.
The results of the water tests will be presented by Corloncito on Tuesday during a meeting with city officials at the Sangguniang Panlungsod session hall.
JOINT SP COMMITTEE
FIND 3 CULPRITS
A joint Sangguniang Panlalawigan committee meeting with highways, engineering and environment officials identified three culprits for the drainage mess in Tagbilaran City, feared to become a “City in Decay.”
These are the contractor’s tolerance to the illegal connections to the drainage system, failure of the city government to cut them, and absence of a wastewater treatment facility.
Provincial Board Member Cesar Tomas Lopez, chairman of the SP health committee, said contractor Hanjin and city hall should “work hand in hand” to cut illegal tappings that flush wastewater into the storm-rainwater drainage channel.
The discharge of wastewater into the new drainage system is prohibited based on City Ordinance C-205, according to Provincial Board Member Alfonso Damalerio II, chairman of the environment and natural resources committee.
Lopez said that based on the existing measure, the city government, thru the City Engineering Office (CEO), should be “very active” in this mandate.
The meeting held at capitol Friday was jointly called by the committees on environment, health and public works.
Others in attendance were Board Members Jose Veloso and Bienvenido Molina, District Engr. Celestino Adlaon of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-I), Acting Chief Rosalina Gaterin of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-Bohol), Engr. Greta Mende of the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO) and representative of the capitol-created Bohol Enviornment Management Office (BEMO).
The EMB and its mother agency, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), are firm against the drainage outfall opening unless the illegal connections are cut and wastewater treatment plant built.
Lawyer Raul Barbarona of the Enviornmental Legal Action Center (ELAC), Liza Flores of PROCESS Foundation, and Executive Director Jovenal Edquilag of the Maribojoc Bay Executive Management Office (MBEMO) also came.
Edquilag said a wastewater treatment facility should be constructed because not just the coastal waters of Tagbilaran City are adversely affected by the toxic discharges through the drainage outfall.
Adlaon said the list of illegal connections to the new drainage system was long provided to city hall, including the City Health Office (CHO), for appropriate action.
All agreed in the meeting to “pressure” the contractor into cutting the illegal connections which it allowed and tolerated right in the construction phase of the new drainage.
This recommendation will be relayed to the Philippine Japan Highways Loan (PJHL) – Project management Office (PMO).
The points for action will also be raised by Damalerio, as authorized in the joint committee meeting, during the conference of the city council called by Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso with invited highways, environment and other technical persons on May 23.
The city ordinance prohibiting the waste discharge into the drainage system says: “All persons, establishments, entities and other stakeholders affected by the provisions of this Ordinance are hereby given a period of six months after the effectivity of this Ordinance to comply to its provisions.”
It says further that the “Office of the City Mayor is hereby authorized to issue Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) necessary for the proper implementation of this Ordinance”
The measure was enacted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod presided by then Vice Mayor Nuevas Tirol-Montes and approved by Mayor Dan Lim in June last year.
In October of the same year, Gov. Erico Aumentado issued Executive Order 15 “strengthening the initiatives to prevent water pollution by enforcing the installation of wastewater treatment facilities for hotels, resorts, and restaurants, and such other industries which require usage of water volume in commercial quantities.”
In March this year, a technical conference with the DENR-EMB people would have been attended by DPWH-I and city officials and Hanjin people. Only a DPWH-I representative came.
Commitments were made in that meeting, namely, the disconnection of all existing sewerage tappings within 30 days, prevention of further connections to ensure that the drainage system is free from pollution and domestic wastes, and submission of compliance report after the cutting of all existing sewer connections after one month period.
It was reiterated in the joint SP committee meeting Friday that cutting the illegal connections is a collaborative job of the contractor and city government.
The drainage project cannot alone be turned over from the contractor to the government because it is just a component of the Bohol Circumferential Road Improvement Project-Phase II.
Adlaon said the project to be accepted, therefore, is not solely the drainage system but wholly the circumferential road.
LIM TWITS DAMALERIO
Tagbilaran Mayor Dan Lim lashed out at “the ugly head of politics” as he got back at Board Member Alfonso Damalerio II after the latter delivered criticizing the city government’s proposed solutions to the drainage problems.
Speaking at his weekly radio program over Station DyRD, Lim said Damalerio’s has no basis for his criticisms except his own opinion.
The mayor said Damalerio has neither the expertise nor the qualification to take issue with the experts who designed, prepared and proposed the solutions to the problem.
He also asked why Damalerio is suddenly interested in the drainage problem only now when the solution is near.
Lim pointed out that the drainage system has been his priority project even as far as 1992 when he served as city administrator to then Mayor Jose Ma. Rocha.
During that time, he was responsible for the construction of the drainage system along Lamdagan street and Remolador extension.
“Damalerio is not aware of that but the residents of these places are my witnesses,” the mayor said.
He also noted that when he assumed in 2004, the drainage problem was among his first concerns when he negotiated for the upgrading of the CPG avenue road improvement project.
At the time, Lim said the project was only for an overlay asphalt but he lobbied for the inclusion of a drainage component and for it to be upgraded to concreting.
“This is the reason that even though Cong. Edgar Chatto, the god of Damalerio, was not concerned about it, the drainage system was incorporated in the CPG avenue road improvement project,” Lim added.
The mayor also took issue with Damalerio’s claim that the national government through the efforts of Chatto and Gov. Erico Aumentado poured in P43-million into the San Jose outfall.
“I challenge him to show that Cong. Chatto allocated funds from his CDF for this project,” Lim declared.
The mayor said that if there is anybody who should claim credit for the project, it would be Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Aumentado and then Budget Secretary Romulo Neri.
Lim also took issue with Damalerio’s claim that the “polluter’s fee” sends a wrong signal to the people that “it’s okay to pollute as long as you pay”.
“It does not mean that people are allowed to pollute just because they can pay. It is an economic instrument where people are made to pay now when they have not been paying before,” the mayor said.
Lim said that since there is only one drainage system, it would be impossible to follow a defective ordinance that allowed only rainwater into the drainage.
“Is he aware that there are 90,000 violators and that the Capitol where he holds office is among the violators whose connections would be cut if he insists on implementing the ordinance that prohibits discharges aside from rainwater?” he asked.
Lim said that the collection of the polluter’s pay, which is a sort of carrot and stick approach, is provided for in the Clean Water Act.
The mayor said that if only Chatto allocated a bigger chunk of his discretionary funds that totals P70-M annually, Tagbilaran would have availed of not just two drainage systems that Damalerio wants.