City officials inspect the newly commissioned sewage treatment facility. (Photo courtesy of the City Information Office)

[UPDATED] The city government has officially opened its P240 million sewerage and septage treatment facility on the baywalk, which aims to reduce water pollution by cleaning wastewater before it is discharged into the sea.

The plant, which was commissioned on November 27, uses anaerobic bacteria to remove nitrates and aeration to treat wastewater and does not use chemicals, according to a statement from the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO).

The facility, which spans 2,000 square meters on a reclaimed stretch of the baywalk, was funded by the city government at a cost of approximately P25 million.

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Photo courtesy of the City Information Office

Two private firms – Ecosystem Technologies International, Inc. (ESTII) President Robert So and JCA 1221 Holdings Inc. – contributed an additional P215 million through a joint venture agreement entered into with the city government in 2018, according to the City ENRO.

Atty. Jeremiah Asis, president of JCA 1221 Holdings, Inc. said the facility can process up to 2,000 cubic meters of sewage, or wastewater collected from canals and public waterways per day, and up to 150 cubic meters of septage, or wastewater from households per day.

“Ang capacity natin na 2,000 [cubic meters sa sewage], kada drain kaya 700 cubic meters per day, three times a day. ‘Yan ay ready for expansion na, kaya nating doblehin hanggang 4,000 [cubic meters],” Asis said during the commissioning ceremony in late November.

“Inaasahan natin na ang baywalk ay mag-iimprove na. Ang tubig na lalabas sa bay ay wala nang masangsang na amoy kasi ang tubig na dadaloy ngayon ay malinis na,” he added.

The septage will be collected by the city government from households who have their own septic tanks, while the sewerage will come from the city government’s own drainage system.

City ENRO chief Atty. Carlo Gomez stated that the commissioning of the facility is an important step towards reducing water pollution and improving the water quality of Puerto Bay.

“There is now assurance na ang wastewater ng ating mga households will be treated. And it will be recycled [to be dumped into the bay]. This also means that we will experience less dumping into waterways and clean groundwater for households,” Gomez said during the ceremony.

He added that the presence of the treatment plant will also hopefully attract more business investors in the tourism, agricultural, and real estate industries.

Mayor Lucilo Bayron also said during the commissioning ceremony that the facility is also one step towards saving Puerto Bay, a source of livelihood to fishing communities in Puerto Princesa. Dolphins and pilot whales have also been seen to be thriving in the Bay.

“Ito ay isa sa mga steps para ma-save natin ang ating Puerto Princesa Bay. We have to do everything na ma-save natin ito. A project that we should be very proud of kasi ito ay may kinalaman ng kinabukasan ng mga anak natin at ng mga anak ng mga anak natin,” Bayron said in his message during the event.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.