THE Davao City Water District (DCWD) assured its consumers on Wednesday, August 3 that chemical spill that happened in Suawan River won't affect the safety and quality of the water being delivered to consumers.

"The chemical spillage that went to Davao River is not among our sources. Ang atong source sa pagkakaron (Our current water source) is 99 percent groundwater, which is far from Davao River," DCWD spokesperson Jovana Cresta Duhaylungsod said in a press conference Wednesday morning, August 3.

She added that the city's other water source is surface water in Malagos.

"With that, wala siya'y (there is no) possible risk directly to our water supply," Duhaylungsod said.

On late Monday evening, August 1, a truck transporting sodium hydroxide or caustic soda crashed and fell 50 feet off a cliff into a ravine in Brgy. Suawan, Calinan.

In a report from Davao City Central 911, two patients were extracted: one was declared dead on the spot, while the other was treated on-site.

Following the accident, the Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) warned residents living along Suawan River and Davao River tributaries to avoid swimming and fishing in the river following a chemical spill.

However, as of August 3, the chemical spill has already been contained.

Caustic soda or lye is widely used as a cleaning agent in industrial and manufacturing setups. Being high in akali, the chemical is highly corrosive to animal and vegetable tissue.

It is also used for soap making, candle making, homemade biodiesel, frosting glass, making several food, and for chemistry experiments.

Project coordinator Lemuel Manalo of the Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (Idis) added that caustic soda in high concentration may lead to skin burns for humans especially when it’s handled without proper protective equipment.

In a previous report, DCWD said 99 percent of its water supply is sourced from groundwater.

Following the growing demand for water supply, DCWD along with Apo Agua Infrastructura Inc. ventured into Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project (DCBWSP).

DCBWSP, a P12-billion project, is a strategic infrastructure initiative that will shift the dependence of Davao City's main water supply from groundwater wells to the more sustainable surface water from Tamugan River.

Duhaylungsod said that the Davao River was among the surface water source that was initially considered for the Bulk Water project, provided that there is a treatment plant.

However, the lower stream of the river, on the other hand, is not deemed qualified due to its water quality. RGL