City asks: Clean septic tanks often

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Sunday, June 22, 2014


STARTING next month, all households, public and private buildings and all kinds of sea vessels in Cebu City will be required to desludge their septic tanks every three to five years.

Only properties and businesses with on-site waste water and septage treatment facilities verified by the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CCENRO) will be exempted.

All new constructions of houses, commercial and other structures with septic tanks that will start next month will be required to secure a septic permit from the City Government.

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However, owners of septic tanks constructed before this month will be given two to three months to comply with the permit.

In its session last week, the Cebu City Council passed the ordinance that creates a Septage Management Program for the city, in conformity with Republic Act 9275 or the Clean Water Act of 2004.

The law mandates all local government units to prepare a program on septage management and to share the responsibility in the management and improvement of water quality within their jurisdictions.

The ordinance was sponsored by Councilor Nida Cabrera, who chairs the ouncil’s committee on environment, and Councilor Sisinio Andales.

Along with the passage of the new ordinance is the creation of the Cebu City Septage Management Board (CCSMB) that will monitor compliance with the new rules.

The ordinance also covers all foreign and local vessels, whether government or privately owned, found within the municipal waters of the city.

City Hall, through CCENRO, will coordinate with concerned government agencies in the enforcement of the ordinance and when inspecting sea vessels.

During the council’s discussion, Cabrera said there are some vessels docked in the city that lack a proper disposal of their septage waste. These were included in the ordinance because the City needs to help keep its seas clean.

“There is a need to regulate their waste disposal considering that they are located in the seawaters under the jurisdiction of the City,” Cabrera added.

The measure also requires septic tanks in every building to store all the wastewater generated within the facility.

After the desludging, the ordinance mandates that all untreated sewage and septage, among other wastes, shall not be discharged into the ground, roads, open excavation, streams, sewers and any bodies of water.

To sustain the program, a disposal fee for accredited desludgers will be imposed by the City.

The amount will be computed per cubic meter of septage or sludge treated or disposed of in the accredited septage facility.

As the ordinance takes effect, the CCSMB will accredit desludgers that will be authorized to desludge tanks and transport waste to a septage treatment facility.

Any person or entity that will be found violating the measure will be fined P1,000 for the first offense and P3,000 for the second offense.

A fine of P5,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months, or both penalties, will be imposed for the third offense.

The ordinance will take effect 15 days after being published in a local newspaper.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 23, 2014.

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