CENTRAL Azucarera de la Carlota Inc. (Caci), a subsidiary of integrated sugar and ethanol producer Roxas Holdings Inc. (RHI), has assured the public that the Najalin Dam located near its plant at Barangay Nagasi in La Carlota City is not polluted.

The firm issued the statement Wednesday, November 8, amid the pollution allegation reported earlier in a local newspaper (not SunStar Bacolod).

Esteban Coscolluela, vice president and general manager of Caci, said that based on the results of the inspections conducted by several teams from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), “there were no findings of pollution at the dam.”

The surprise visit was led by Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) National Director Metodio Turbella and EMB-Western Visayas head Desiderio Figueroa on October 27.

Coscolluela said they informed Turbella that the Department of Agriculture (DA) granted the plant a certificate for safe re-use of wastewater for irrigation.

The firm also assured the DENR team that it has established different points for water sampling from the upstream of Mangala River down to the coastal area of Marayo in nearby Pontevedra town to ensure that water quality is maintained.

“Director Turbella advised our team to invite the Municipal Government of Pontevedra when we conduct water sampling to assure the residents that Caci is not violating any DENR regulations,” he added.

The firm, in a statement, further claimed that on October 25, representatives of the local government along with EMB officials came to oversee a follow-up sampling of the river water conducted by an independent laboratory.

“Engineer Roniel Carbajosa of EMB Region 6 saw that the water samples taken that day were free of traces of oil and grease,” Coscolluela said.

A group from La Carlota Inspection Team also inspected the plant following their visit at its sister company Roxol Bionergy Corp. (RBC) also in La Carlota City.

They wanted to check on the source of foul odor reportedly affecting some residents of Barangay Nagasi, Coscolluela said.

“After the inspection, they asked us to provide them with our wastewater management program,” he said, adding that “Caci values and protects the environment and the health of the people in its communities.”