DAGUPAN CITY – The Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) conducted  a public hearing on a  proposed ordinance seeking to establish a first of its kind  septage and sewage management program in the city on January 13 at the city museum.

The proposed ordinance is in compliance with Republic Act 9275 otherwise known as the Philippine Clean Water Act.

Said Act imposes on local government units the responsibility in the management and improvement of water quality within its territorial jurisdiction.

The public hearing was attended by the Dagupan City Water District (DCWD), which presented its Septage Management Program for Dagupan.

The city is concerned on degradation of water quality in the river including effects such as sewage fungus and algal growths which pose risk on people’s health especially those using the river and some residential areas during floods.

Based on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Water Quality Monitoring Report on September 2016 four of the seven rivers of the city, namely Calmay, Pantal (Magsaysay), Dawel and Bayaoas were reported to have registered a high fecal coliform level, which is beyond the Most Probable Number (MPN) per 100 milliliter of 200 MPN.

The report stated that Dawel registered 900 MPN; Calmay, 2,600 MPN; Pantal River (Magsaysay), 11,000 MPN; and Bayaoas River, 17,000 MPN/100ml.

DCWD reports that 3,739 residential homes in the city have no toilet facilities and most are defecating directly in the rivers.

Other residential, commercial, trade and industrial establishments continue to use septic tanks which are not properly designed, improved or updated through the years or even for decades and continue to discharge into the sewers that further degrade many waterways and the rivers.

It was recommended that every septic tank must be constructed in consonance with the Sanitation Code of the Philippines and the MWSS Designs, that such must be designed by a Sanitary Engineer or Master Plumber, and that the covering shall be done only in the presence of the building inspector under the Septage management Unit. The proof or certificate of inspection shall be part of the requirements in the issuance of the Occupancy Permit.

In the case of those already existing, it was recommended that the septic tank undergo upgrading in conformity with the requirements and specifications of the law.

If the ordinance is approved, DCWD will be the implementing agency under the law. (Joseph C. Bacani/CIO/Jan. 13, 2017)