DCWD to begin construction of septage project

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/17 July) – The construction of the first two of the four-zone septage project of the Davao City Water District (DCWD) will commence sometime second quarter next year tto address the improper disposal of human wastes by illegal septic tank cleaning service companies.

In a chance interview at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Saturday, DCWD spokesperson Atty. Bernardo Delima Jr. said they are allocating P300 million for the first two zones which will cover some 65 barangays but he declined to disclose the prospective locations, pending the acquisition of the properties.

The remaining zones will be erected two years upon completion of the first two zones, he said. It will service primarily the DCWD’s household clients numbering over 200,000 as of first semester of 2016.

“The idea is we will prioritize the water consumers. The septage fee will reflect on their billing. We will dislodge their septic tanks once in every two or five years,” he said.

He said they are securing permits and are waiting for the City Council of Davao to pass a resolution allowing Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to enter into an agreement with the DCWD before they can proceed with the construction.

“This is not DCWD’s primary mandate because our function is in the distribution of water, but it appears to be our secondary mandate (to put up a septage treatment plant),” he said.

Rule 9, Section 22 of City Ordinance 0rdinance 0363-10, which established the “septage and sewerage management program of Davao,” states that “septage, sewerage, and sewage treatment plant/facility shall be established pursuant to memorandum of agreement entered into by and between the City Government of Davao and DCWD. The City Government shall provide an appropriate land which shall serve as the site of the septage, sewerage, and sewage treatment plant/facility.”

He said they want to help the city and other government units to lower down the contamination of the rivers with coliform bacteria that comes from human and animal wastes that end up in the sea.

“Our primary objective is to clean our bodies of water. Most of our rivers and beaches here have high coliform level,” he said.

He said that the City Government should devise concrete plans how to address the areas, most especially the coastal barangays that have no comfort rooms, to prevent further contaminating the sea.

He said one of the solutions will be for the local government to put up public comfort rooms so that it would be easier to collect the wastes.

“Hopefully we can (get) our act together,” he said.

“Ang dagat dili na maligoan ba. Times Beach area karon lisod na kay naay manglutaw. Part na pud sa clean up. (We can no longer swim in our seas. In Times Beach, it is so difficult because there are human wastes floating. That’s part of our clean-up,” he said.

Massive IEC

Delima said they will conduct a massive information and education campaign (IEC) on the functions and outputs of the treatment plant.

He explained that the facility can yield two outputs – liquid and solid – the liquid part can be thrown into the waterways while the odorless and almost like “soil” solid parts can be used as fertilizer.

He said they plan to distribute the treated solid parts to barangays with agricultural programs.

“Basta treated treated gyud sya dili gyud siya harmful, murag sya yuta. (Once treated, it is not harmful. It’s like a soil),” he said. “Our massive IEC to the brangays is to inform the public on the component of the project, they may have questions on the treated residues,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)