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P56M septage treatment to rise in Legazpi

By Emmanuel Solis LEGAZPI CITY --- The construction of the P55.7M Septage Treatment Facility (STF) here is now on its final stage and the project is expected to be operational in August, the city mayor said yesterday. In an interview, Mayor Noel E. Rosal said that with the STF, they aim to protect the health of the people as well as the environment by preventing the contamination of rivers from septic tank wastes. The project materialized through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by Rosal on the part of the city administration, and Jose L. de Jesus, chairman of the Board of Directors of Chemical Research Products Industrial Sales, Inc. (RPIS). Rosal pointed out that based on the agreement, the city administration shall monitor and exercise technical supervision, including the right to inspect the project during its construction, testing and operation to determine its compliance with all legal requirements, whether it is completed under the agreed engineering standards and specifications. The city government of Legazpi will likewise be responsible for scheduling de-sludging for the households within the timeframe of the project, and for timely and regular collection of effluent sludge cakes in the STF for disposal, he added. Rosal said his administration will be responsible for collecting from customers the septage fees, either through the Legazpi City Water District or the City Treasurer’s Office, and then it will pay the RPIS on a monthly basis. The city chief executive noted that the RPIS has financed and supervised the construction of the STF project under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Scheme and Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) modality - in accordance with the provision of Legazpi City Ordinance No. 0008-2015, otherwise known as the City’s PPP Code, and Republic Act No. 7718, or the “Build, Operate and Transfer Law”. Rosal said the RPIS will handle the operational management of the project for a period of five years through the BOT scheme and at the end of the fixed term, the facility will be transferred to the City Government of Legazpi. The RPIS will operate the project based on the accepted facility management practices and provide for repairs and replacement costs to ensure performance within the prescribed standards. It will also be responsible for any loss or damage to the project due to any cause during the project implementation, the mayor added. Rosal also said based on the agreement, the RPIS will ensure that treated effluent quality will meet the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Class C Water standards for all parameters. He said the RPIS will assume full responsibility of the costs arising from any adverse environmental effects or other impacts that may directly result from its negligence in the construction of the project. The STF is a project of Legazpi City under the city’s Comprehensive Septage and Waste Water Treatment Facility program, in compliance with the implementation of Republic Act No. 9275 or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 2004, as well as Presidential Decree (PD) 198 or the Water District Law, PD 856 or the Sanitation Code of the Philippines, and RA 7160 or the Local Government Code of the Philippines. All local government units are mandated to pursue a policy for the protection and preservation of marine waters. The project also materialized through City Ordinance 0025-2015 enacted by members of the city council that also aims to promote the general welfare and the right to a balanced ecology and safe health for the people in the community and its environment by controlling and managing the storage, collection, transport, treatment and disposal of septage or sludge from various sources. The ordinance requires all households, business establishments, hospitals, and government offices to have their own septic tank with water tank, no leaching compartment, appropriately sized and located at least 25 meters from any well, and containing access port for de-sludging. The STF is located within the two-hectare land adjacent to the Engineered Sanitary Landfill in Sitio Caridad, Barangay Banquerohan in Legazpi City.

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