Balatas dumpsite closure underway
By Jhon B. Delos Reyes
NAGA CITY --- Mayor John G. Bongat, together with Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion, City Engineer Leon B. Palmiano IV, and Solid Waste Management Office (SWMO) head Engr. Joel P. Martin, has formally announced during a press conference held at the mayor’s office on April 27, 2017 the eventual closure of Balatas dumpsite and the start of the construction of modern sanitary landfill within the next few days. The Balatas dumpsite has become one of the pestering issues in the past years, particularly the unpleasant smell spawned by decaying garbage in the city’s open dumpsite and the absence of controlled modern waste disposal system. The mayor said that the closure has to come after a notice to proceed was approved by the Sangguniang Panglunsod on April 17, 2017 to Pasig City-based CB Garay Philworks Construction that will start the closure and transfer of the city’s garbage dumping system to a new site. It clarified that only 70% of the dumpsite would be immediately closed while the remaining 30% will still be used in the meantime that full closure and construction of new modern sanitary landfill are being started. Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion has forewarned that due to the closure phase that would entail movement of dumped garbage, emission of foul odor from the dumpsite would be inevitable. Engr. Palmiano explained that the old dumpsite would first be flattened by graders and the slopes patched up to avoid erosion of the landfill. After the patching of the dump, it would be covered with layers of silt, clay, and topsoil for vegetation purposes. A drainage system will be constructed for the runoff filtration, and then the filtered water will undergo treatment before its final release down the Naga River. SWMO head Engr. Martin explained that to lessen smell emission, his men will work at night instead of daytime when most people are awake. He said that the barangays of Del Rosario, Concepcion Grande, and Concepcion Pequeña will be most affected by the obnoxious smell because of the ‘Amihan’ winds obtaining this summer. On the other hand, barangay San Felipe and its neighboring zones will be most affected if the winds shift to ‘Habagat’. As a counter measure, SWMO will be applying mass deodorizers to lessen, if not neutralize, the emission of foul odor emanating from the dumpsite. The SWMO, it was learned, applies approximately 2,000 liters of anti-odor spray per day at the dumpsite.. Mayor Bongat said the contractor will handle the construction of runoff canal, wastewater treatment and landfill closure. SWMO, the CEO, and City Health Office, on the other hand, will take care of minimizing the stench and breadth of foul odor from the dumpsite while it is being prepared for eventual closure within a 6-month period, where the first two or three weeks would be most critical to the residents’ sense of smell. The City Events Protocol, and Public Information Office (CEPPIO) headed by Allen L. Reondanga will take care of public advisories regarding the dumpsite closure process and activities until construction of new dumpsite has begun and been completed. Engr. Palmiano said that the odorless new sanitary landfill in Bgy. San Isidro concerning the status of the new sanitary landfill is expected to be completed in one year with initial facilities to have been readied by mid-June, this year. The city mayor has asked stakeholders to do their part by religiously segregating their household wastes from those that may be recycled or sold to junk shops or be stored at the Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) of every barangay. In this way, they could help lessen the load of garbage and may generate income thru the MRF. The mayor said he may designate barangay environmentalists and volunteer workers who will help maintain the MRF and educate the people on proper waste disposal and segregation. Approximately three years after the completion of new sanitary landfill, the city plans to put up a waste-to-energy facility that is expected generate additional energy from the wastes and garbage collected.