THE liquid or leachate that comes from the tons of garbage in the sanitary landfill can no longer be treated in the existing waste water treatment facility in Davao City, the dark liquid now is just leaching out all over the place and, worse, into the Matina Pangi River.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) urged the City Government to improve the waste water treatment facility in the sanitary landfill located in Barangay New Carmen, Tugbok district amid complaints on leachate from the dumpsite that may cause adverse impact on the public's health.
DENR-EMB chief Anulfu Alvarez said during the Connect press forum on Friday at SM Lanang Premier that they already conducted inspection last August at the landfill where they noticed that the volume of the waste dumped there have increased, which resulted to the overflowing of leachate or the liquid that drains or 'leaches' from a landfill in the water waste treatment facility.
The drainage system also is no longer capable and appropriate to accommodate the volume of leachate that is flowing. Thus, instead of going to the water treatment facility, the liquid goes anywhere.
"All of these leachates should be meron siyang proper drainage directed to the waste water treatment facility but the problem is kung saan-saan na tumatagos dumadaan yong leach from the dump," Alvarez said.
He said the sanitary landfill has become an open and mix waste dumpsite and does not follow the standard operation. He said that the practice should be, after every dump of the waste collected, it should be covered by soil and the same process applied every now and then. But this system has not been followed. Since the site is exposed to rain, there is a leachate build up.
"The drainage line ay clogged up na so pagpunta doon, kasi malaki na ang volume of waste malaki na ang volume nga leachate hindi na kaya ng existing waste water treatment facility because nag overflow na siya. Nag overflow [also] sa creek papunta sa isang creek yong river yong lalabasan sa Matina Pangi," he added.
The Davao City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) confirmed the situation of the dumpsite and he said that their role is to recommend the proper measures to undertake before the city would eventually face legal sanction before the Ombudsman if these concerns remain unresolved.
During the technical conference, the city was given some recommendations and the city has committed to enhance the waste water treatment facility. However, he is not certain if they have submitted compliance during the conference.
Alvarez also noted that the water in Matina Pangi river has turned black, which is the result of the leachate from the dumpsite that might trigger health problems especially for children who will play there.
According to him, leachate could be dangerous for the health especially if the landfill is mix waste where there are metals as well. He cited like in Payatas in Manila, the leachate there is contaminated with chemicals like arsenic and mercury which are highly toxic waste.
Therefore, he said that the city must improve the waste water treatment facility, provide modern state-of-the-art water facility to treat the waste before it could be discharged to the water body. The quality must adhere with the DENR standard so it would not pollute marine species when it goes to the water or harm people.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on November 11, 2017.
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