THE level of fecal coliform present in the Davao River remains alarming despite the significant reduction noted by the Ambient Water Quality Monitoring Unit of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).
Miralou Blanco, head of Ambient Water Quality Monitoring Unit of EMB-Davao, said Friday, June 28, during the Kapihan sa PIA at NCCC Buhangin that test results from Davao River show the fecal coliform level is far from water quality guidelines and may trigger adverse health effect.
She said there have been efforts to minimize the fecal coliform level in the river spurred by the improper sanitary facility and lack of sewage system.
"It is alarming because water quality guidelines man ang atong gihisgotan so buot pasabot, ang fecal coliform level ana nga sapa more than na siya sa iyang guidelines (It is alarming if we talk about water quality guidelines. Meaning, the fecal coliform level in that river is beyond the guidelines)," she said.
In the water quality guidelines or the standard threshold limit, the coliform level in Davao River is high. There are areas that have reached to thousand fecal coliform most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters (ml).
In Davao River, the Class A, which is from Mandug uptown, has water quality guidelines of less than 1.1 MPN/100ml. If the coliform level reaches beyond the ideal level, it is considered alarming.
However, based on their sampling test in Class B, it has reached to 10,000 MPN/100ml.
"Maong kinahanglan og effort like tarong nga sanitary facility, septage treatment facility para katong mga sources atoa siyang ma-contain dili siya mudiretso adto sa sapa (We need to initiate efforts to fix our sanitary facility, septage treatment facility to ensure that those waste will not go directly to the river)," she added.
Blanco said the coliform level has somehow decreased due to their Zero Defecation Campaign and promotion of septic tank in all toilets for informal settlers residing along the river.
But she said, "Kung i-compare nato siya sa atong ginatawa nga water quality guidelines, taas pa gyud siya (If we compare the result to our water quality guidelines, it is still far from the ideal)."
She said since the water remains high in coliform content, it might lead to several water-borne diseases like cholera, typhoid fever, among others, for those who are swimming in the river.
The sources of coliform bacteria include domestic and industrial wastewater discharges, septic tanks, and domestic and farm animals, especially those without appropriate wastewater treatment facilities.