RESIDENTS of Lapu-Lapu City supported the proposed septage and sewerage management ordinance during a public hearing last Sept. 15.
Held at the Lapu-Lapu City session hall, the public hearing was attended by officials from Lapu-Lapu City Government, Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), barangay officials, Cordova town officials and city residents.
Councilor Alexander Gestopa Jr., the author of the ordinance, thanked the MCWD for helping local government units comply with the Clean Water Act.
Under the law, LGUs are mandated to put up a septage treatment plant but MCWD took the responsibility and offered to help.
Engr. Emmanuel Espina of MCWD Corporate Planning Department said that the facility is needed to properly dispose of human wastes to prevent contamination of water sources.
The facility will be established in Barangay San Miguel in Cordova town, but it will also serve the residents of Lapu-Lapu.
During the public hearing, Espina explained how the facility works and the advantages it can give to the locals of Lapu-Lapu and Cordova, who rely on tourism because of its beaches.
He said that nitrates in human waste can contaminate water if it is beyond 50 milligrams per liter.
He said that several deep wells in Lapu-Lapu are built near septic tanks, which means that the risk of contamination is high.
This contamination can cause diarrhea, cholera, hepatitis, dysentery, blue baby syndrome and high prevalence of cancer of the stomach and esophagus.
Roberto Lastimoso, key accounts manager of Envirokonsult Equipment Services Inc., the contractor of the septage treatment plant (STP), assured those who attended the hearing that the facility will not emit foul odor and will operate without noise. Environkonsult is operating STPs in other parts of the country.
Marigondon Barangay Councilor Noli Bonghanoy asked how the seacrafts can discharge of their wastes.
Engr. Roderico Tagaan, City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) head who was also among the panelists in the public hearing, told Bonghanoy that seacraft owners must have receptacles in their boats and set up a septic tank in the mainland as storage for the wastes for desludging.
Edwin Leong, head of the Lapu-Lapu City Fisheries and Acquatic Resources, asked how to implement the ordinance in areas where there are informal settlers who do not have comfort rooms.
Tagaan said the Solid Waste Management Board will study how to address the concern.
Lawyer Jocelyn Pesquera, MCWD board of director, said the barangay leaders have the authority over these settlers and can help address the problem.
Lapu-Lapu City Councilor Florito Pozon asked during the public hearing if Cordova is willing to take the wastes from Lapu-lapu City. MCWD’s Espina assured that the water district has conducted a series of meetings with Cordova officials and they already agreed to it.
Under Envirokonsult’s contract with MCWD, the firm will operate the facility in the next five years.
Cost for the desludging and treatment of wastes will be paid by MCWD consumers on installment basis.
They will pay P2.20 for every cubic meter of water consumed and this will be incorporated in the water bill.
An average family can pay up to P50 a month or a total of P3,000 for five years.
Those who are not MCWD consumers will have to pay one time the full amount.
MCWD will pay the contractor P800 per cubic meter of collected and treated waste.