Towns, cities urged to build septage systems, protect groundwater

Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB) encouraged Mega Cebu towns and cities to establish septage management programs (SMP) in their respective jurisdictions.

This is to protect ground water from pollution and contamination, said Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) general manager Engr. Ernie Delco.

Delco said that 90 percent of households in the city have septic tanks but most are bottomless and with only one or two chambers.

With these tanks, wastes go straight to the ground contaminating groundwater and deep wells, he explained.

Delco further explained that standard tanks should have three chambers.

“The capacity of the first chamber should be half of the capacity of the whole tank while the other two should each have half the capacity of the first chamber,” he said.

He also added that current practice in dislodging septic tanks disposes waste to creeks and rivers – which should not be done.

Delco said that currently, only Cordova town and Cebu City have ordinances ordering the establishment of SMPs.

He added that Liloan town will soon follow after all documentary requirements are accomplished.

“We want these SMPs to be implemented in the whole (Cebu) Province. But since our jurisdiction is only limited, we can only establish these programs in our jurisdiction,” said Delco.

MCWD covers towns from Compostela in the north and Talisay City in the south.

With MCDCB’s support, SMPs can be established in more towns.

MCDCB covers towns and cities from Danao City in the north and Carcar City in the south.

Delco assured that MCWD will provide funds for the septic treatment plant. Roughly P80M is needed to fund the plant.

“Right now, we are going to bid the construction of treatment plan in Cordova to serve the Mactan Area. Soon, we’ll build one in Consolacion or Liloan to serve the Compostela-Consolacion-Liloan area and another in Cebu City to serve the cities of Mandaue, Cebu and Talisay,” he said.

Usage of these treatment plants would cost additional fees to MCWD customers. A sanitation fee of P2 – P2.50 per cubic meter will be added to the water bill, said Delco.

However, he clarified that what the customers would pay is the cost of treating the wastes per cubic meter, not the cost of construction of the plant.

He further added that this cannot still be imposed until MCWD gets approval from local water amenities and conduct a public hearing.