P500M needed to put up state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant

BAGUIO CITY  – City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) Head Cordelia Lacsamana said the local government needs more or less P500 million to fund the proposed Sewage Treatment plant within the Galiano River System.

The proposed project, presented before the city council on Monday, entails the construction of a waste water treatment facility, a septage facility, and 11.9 kilometers of new sewer lines.

CEPMO plans to fund the project under the national government. “With the completion of the feasibility study, we are now qualified to avail the national sewage and septage program grant under the DPWH,” Lacsamana said.

Originally, the project had a total footprint of 7,000 square meters but was increased to 11,000 square meters to factor in the 5 square meter buffer requirement of the sanitation code. “The identification of the site has been done by the Land Identification Committee. We were informed that they have already completed the activity,” Lacsamana explained. The figures concerned Punong Barangay Carlos Ananayo of Lower Rock Quarry, one of the 15 barangays that will be affected by the project.

“There are so many houses that will be affected within the 11,000 square meters footprint. And those residents are illegal occupants. I’m worried, what will happen to them? One more thing, just this month, I have been receiving comments from neighboring barangays. “They’re asking what will happen to us if the septage project will push through and brings with it flooding,” Ananayosaid.

Lacsamana responded that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will soon finish the construction of drainage tunnels at the City Camp lagoon which will mitigate flooding. “There are only 150 meters left to be completed. We hope it will be completed so that the drainage system will operate,” she explained. Councilor Faustino Olowan asked if the affected residents in barangay Lower Rock Quarry have titles.

“Some of them. The only remedy is, we have to stick with the previous proposed area,” Ananayo said. “If the project will be pursued, will they agree with the principle of imminent domain? Is that possible?” Olowan asked.

“I hope so,” Ananayo answered. Councilor Alangsab, for his part, questioned Lacsamana if the facilities will bring air pollution. “We don’t want the residents nearby to suffer the same polluted air the residents at Sanitary Camp are experiencing,” he said.

Lacsamana gave her assurance that the treatment facility will not cause air pollution, especially since it will be built underground. “With the technology we are proposing, we can guarantee that. The barangays also saw during the Lakbay Aral. They saw the different technologies we can avail in Metro Manila,” she said. MRR-Queen of Peace barangay captain Catherine Quinones gave her support. “Maganda naman. Kagaya sa pinuntahan naming doon, nandun yung sewer system sa ilalim. Wala pong naaamoy, even if it is within the Pasig River. Sabi ko po, maganda po,” she said.

Lacsamana said that when the project is completed, it will cost P14.82 million a year to sustain its operations. She said, “Based on inflationary costs, the most appropriate time is to implement this between 2017 and 2020.” By Iryll Sicnao

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