Pollution concerns hit northern Negros

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Monday, April 28, 2014


AFTER a lingering foul odor forced the San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. (SCBI) to stop operations for several days the other week after complaints from city residents, another pollution-related concern was reported in northern Negros.

This time, it involves the Victorias Milling Company distillery that also emits unpleasant smell especially when it rains, affecting residents of Barangay Purisima, Manapla.

Third District Board Member Patrick Lacson, chairman of the committee on environment, assured action on the complaints of the residents.

After learning about the complaints, he urged the residents to file a formal complaint before they can properly address the problem.

"We welcome such industries for so long as these are not detrimental to the health of residents in their area of operation as well as to the environment. We will attend to this complaint,” Lacson added.

Representatives of the firm said they are addressing the problem, which began when their electricity supply and waste treatment facility were affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

Meanwhile, as the protest against on the foul odor coming from the ethanol plant of the SCBI reached the cyberspace, its plant manager Jojo Salvador said they are trying their best to address the problem.

The malodorous smell emanates from the plant’s waste water lagoon that has untreated water with high acidity, Salvador said.

He added that heavy rains in recent weeks caused the lagoon to overflow and the waste water seeped into the canal system of the city and went directly to the sea.

Salvador said San Carlos City Mayor Gerardo Valmayor Jr. called their attention after residents complained about the foul odor.

“As a temporary solution, we blocked the canal and rerouted it and pump it to the unused fish pond of Congressman Julio Ledesma IV which is 40 hectares beside the plant itself,” he added.

Salvador said they voluntarily stopped operations the other week to solve the problem on the overflow of the waste water lagoon.

He said that the without rains, the decomposition process will be faster, adding that they have five ponds of fully decomposed material and they intend to fill 20 more ponds to solve the overflow.

"As a long term solution, we plan to put up additional anaerobic digester to treat our waste water," Salvador said.

SCBI’s sugarcane-based ethanol and co-generation plant costs P3 billion and projected to process daily a maximum of 1,500 tons of sugarcane to produce 125,000 liters of bioethanol and generate a rated capacity of around 7.4 megawatts.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 28, 2014.

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