Balili-bued governing bodies meet

BAGUIO CITY – Building plans for the P140M City Camp Lagoon satellite sewage system have been prepared to ease overloading of the Baguio Sewage Treatment Plant (BSTP) at North Sanitary Camp.

City Environment and Parks Management Officer (CEPMO) Cordellia Lacsamana with the confirmation of Mayor Mauricio Domogan, made the pronouncement during the Balili-Bued River governing bodies meeting with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) officials, Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba mayors, and government agency representatives present.

The site for the satellite plant, which is expected to serve fifteen neighboring barangays has been identified, Domogan said.

With the North Sanitary Camp BSTP processing 12,000 cu/m/day of sewage with an 8,500 cu/m/day capacity, this is clearly an urgent need, Domogan emphasized.

During the meeting, DENR official Engr. Alex Luis presented matters noted by the regional office such as the need for concrete plans for the implementation of Republic Act 9275, or the Clean Water Act of 2004. Other issues which need looking into were non-issuance of permits for buildings without wastewater treatment facility, demolition of backyard piggeries in urban areas in compliance with zoning regulations, removal of illegal structures within river easements, environmental permits as part of Department of Tourism facilities accreditation, strict implementation of setback requirements for vertical structures.

As presented by Luis, a moratorium for construction should be issued as the STP capacity has not yet been expanded, as with a public disclosure of erring establishments. Violators including inaction of concerned national and local government agencies should also be considered for prosecution, Luis pointed out. He also referred to several other laws supporting environmental sanitation.

The meeting also presented data on the presence of coliform bacteria in Baguio's river waters; the highest at Km. 3, where Baguio and La Trinidad rivers converge. Coliform bacteria is found in human wastes, and a known pollutant in waters as indiscriminately piped-in through river walls.

DENR Assistant Secretary and Joselin Marcus Fragada, Jr. who was present during the forum offered assistance to preserve environmental sanitation in the city. Admitting that he and his family frequents Baguio for vacations, he implored the local government units to act accordingly. Let us not allow a closure for a tourism site, he ended. - juliegfianza

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