Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu ordered the regional Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to inspect commercial establishments in the city particularly hotels and restaurants, condominiums and apartments to identify those that have established their own sewerage treatment facilities.
Cimatu’s directive was verbally told to EMB Cordillera Environmental Monitoring and Enforcement Division Chief Alex Luis during the secretary’s visit to Baguio Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) on December 6.
He was doing the rounds to check sanitary landfills and STPs particularly in highly urbanized cities and tourist destinations.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong explained to Cimatu that the city’s STP was programmed to treat over 8,500 cubic meters of waste water daily but it is now being fed with over 12,000 cubic meters overloading the plant beyond its prescribed operational capacity.
Magalong informed the DENR chief of the city government’s plan to rehabilitate the STP to increase its operational capacity to 18,000 cubic meters daily using the latest technology on treating liquid waste without expanding the land area required for such development.
He said the city is now accepting proposals for rehabilitation of the STP along with a signed memorandum of understanding with a Japanese firm to install an ecological toilet system in the city which Magalong hopes to show good results for the commercial establishments to adopt later on.
Earlier in August, Magalong and EMB-CAR Regional Director Maria Victoria Abrera inspected commercial establishments in the central business district believed to have the highest volume of wastewater produced daily. Of the four establishments inspected, two were found directly connected to the city’s sewerline.
Under the 2016 Environment Code of the city, all residences and establishments with 12cubic meters of sewage production daily are required to construct their own sewerage treatment plant.
Magalong suggested the need to revisit and amend the city’s Environment Code to specifically identify establishments and institutions and the necessary standard policy.
Baguio’s STP uses the oxidation ditch system built 32 years ago funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and is only serving the central business district covering 65 out of the 128 barangays of the city./Jessa Mardy Samidan