Septage Management Program for Dagupan proposed

DAGUPAN CITY — The Dagupan City Water District (DCWD) is pushing for the implementation of the Septage Management Program in the city that seeks to collect waste water from homes to be impounded and treated in its storage tanks before they are safely disposed of in places where they can no longer cause damage to the environment and marine life.

The project was bared by Ma. Margarita Navata, DCWD press relations officer, during the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas (KBP) forum in Dagupan on Thursday, where she said that the water district is mandated by law not only to supply and distribute water to consumers but also to collect, treat and properly dispose of waste water from homes, establishments and factories.

She said DCWD headed by Engr. Adelfo Valle already presented the Septage Management Program for Dagupan during a public hearing at the City Museum on January 13 attended by barangay captains and a cross-section of the city’s population.

DCWD is now conducting a feasibility study for this project because under the Sanitation Code of the Philippines, all urban cities, which include Dagupan, should have a Septage Management Plan on or before year 2020.

Ms. Navata revealed a study conducted by the City Engineering Office in 2011 which showed that most of the septic tanks of households and establishments in downtown Dagupan are not sealed and therefore not in accordance with the standard set by the Sanitation Code of the Philippines.

This means once the waste from septic tanks overflowed, it goes to nearby canals that drain into the Pantal River, which is a gross violation to the Sanitation Code of the Philippines.

The Pantal River drains into the Calmay River where most fishermen made it as source of their livelihood before emptying into the Lingayen Gulf.

She said the Septage Management Program must be put in place if the officials and the people want to see a significant drop of pollution in the city’s river system to prevent spread of waterborne diseases such as dysentery, gastro-enteritis, among others.

Admitting that the project is yet undergoing feasibility studies, Navata said the water district is now marshaling its resources as well as moving to secure the needed permits.

However, she said a city ordinance to be enacted by the Sangguniang Panglungsod (SP) would be needed as legal basis for the putting up of the Septage Management Program of Dagupan.

She explained the Septage Management Program is a sanitation service of the water district because apart from its mandate to ensure adequate water supply and provide an efficient distribution system to consumers, it is also mandated by law and its charter to operate a system of collection and treatment of waste water and its proper disposal.

Thus, the components of the Septage Management Program are collection, treatment and proper disposal of waste water or contaminated water.

This program will ensure that when waste water is disposed of in the environment, it will no longer affect or damage marine life living in the city’s rivers, creeks and sea.

Under the plan, DCWD will collect waste water from homes which it calls dislodging service and for this will collect some fees from households.

As to the ordinance being sought by DCWD endorsing the establishment of a Septage Management Program for Dagupan, Councilor Jose Netu Tamayo, chairman of the committee on laws and ordinances in the city council, said this needs a long study and consultation among all stakeholders since this is a huge project requiring big investments.

He said although DCWD is a private corporation doing public service for Dagupan, the cost of the project will be eventually passed on to the people of Dagupan who would avail of the program.

Among the urban cities whose Septage Management Program the city of Dagupan wants as model are Del Monte and Baliuag in Bulacan. Leonardo Micua/