THE Local Government of Baguio and its Baguio Water District are at the forefront in implementing provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.
The city government has mandated Baguio Water District (BWD) to impose a sewage fee for every cubic meter of water consumed by a household or a business establishment.
This imposition is to defray the cost of cleaning toilet or kitchen water that often ends up in rivers as waste water.
Other local government units like Angeles City has also passed their respective ordinances on septage and sewerage management. This column will use that of the municipality of Marilao in Bulacan to illustrate compliance to RA 9275, establishing a proper sewage treatment and septage management system in that municipality.
Septage is defined in online sources as a combination of scums, sludges and liquid wastes from household septic tanks, thickened and partially treated sewage removed from septic tanks.
Septage management, also known as desludging, involves the deposit of the household’s sewage to a properly-designed septic tank and collected by a desludging truck going to a septage treatment plant.
RA 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 provides that the state shall pursue a policy of economic growth in a manner consistent with the protection, preservation and revival of a quality of our fresh, brackish and marine waters. It provides the following mandates, thus: formulate a holistic national program of water quality management that recognizes that water quality management issue cannot be separated from concerns about water sources and ecological protection, water supply, public health and quality of life; formulate an integral water quality management framework through proper delegation and effective coordination of functions and activities; promote commercial and industrial processes and products that are environment-friendly and energy efficient and provide for a comprehensive management program for water pollution focusing on pollution prevention.
The ordinance of the municipality of Marilao (Bulacan) contains, inter alia, the following: Municipal Ordinance No. 835 – an ordinance establishing a proper sewage treatment and septage management system in the municipality of Marilao (Bulacan) and prescribing penalties for violation thereof. It declares as a policy to share in the responsibility of managing and improving the quality of water system within its territorial jurisdiction.
Coverage of the ordinance: All residential structures, including, but not limited to, apartments, houses and/or lands; commercial establishments, including, but not limited to, restaurants, convenience stores, hard wares, malls, groceries, markets, car wash, gas stations, laundry shops, water stations, condominiums, motels, hotels, hostels, resorts, recreational establishments, auto repair shops, poultry and livestock rearing establishments, etc; industrial establishments, including, but not limited to, factories, manufacturing plants, etc; government structures, including but not limited to, barangay halls, government offices, etc.; institutional structures, including, but not limited to, schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, churches, etc.
The government agencies involved in Septage Management or in the implementation of RA 9275 are Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as lead agency, Department of Agriculture, Philippine Coast Guard, Department of Public Works and Highways, which, together with the DENR and local government units shall prepare a national program on sewerage and septage management, Department of Health, MWSS, Department of Education, Commission of Higher Education, Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine Information Agency, Department of Energy and the Department of Science and Technology.
In addition, there should be a massive and sustained information dissemination on septage management, especially at the barangay level.