City probes Salaan water contamination PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 10 July 2015 12:04

by Sheila covarrubias

Acting Mayor Cesar Iturralde on Thursday convened an emergency meeting of concerned agencies to thresh out issues concerning the reported water contamination in barangay Salaan where the city’s Sanitary Landfill facility is located.

The meeting came in the wake of suspicions that a water well which has been the residents’ source for drinking water and other sanitation needs for years now has caused diarrhea incidences and allergy diseases among constituents.

“If it is true then this is a serious matter so we want to know what caused it. (City Health Officer) Dr. Agbulos and (City Environment and Natural Resources Officer) Engr. Gonzales went to the area so we will find out the issues so that immediate measures can be taken,” Iturralde said.

Immediately yesterday, the subject water well has been cordoned and restricted from use by residents. Besides the well is supposed to be a restricted area as it is within the government property. Water samples were also taken for laboratory testing to determine whether or not it is contaminated.

Dr. Agbulos during the meeting reported that per inspection and talks with the officials and residents in the area, there were only 2 people who complained of skin diseases contrary to reports that many people affected and numerous others are suffering from diarrhea. A check with the Barangay Health Center log book also revealed that 4 people consulted for diarrhea in June and 2 for July, according to Agbulos. “Personally I could say there is nothing to be alarmed in terms of the health aspect.”

Agbulos said water samples were taken and submitted for laboratory testing and the results of which will be released anytime.

City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Engr. Rey Gonzales for his part ruled out the possibility of ground water contamination in view of the strict compliance of environmental rules and regulations in the construction of the SLF. His statement was affirmed by City Engineer Luis Despalo, whose office supervised the construction of the project.

Per inspection in the area, however, Gonzales said a pipe connecting to the SLF treatment facility was chopped off by unscrupulous individuals for no apparent reason. This incident happened last Friday and was reported to his office only yesterday.  “That may be one of the possibilities of the spill.”

He also revealed that when the facility was turned over and started operations a month ago, the OCENR also discovered a construction drain that was not sealed but immediately the corrections were made. Monitoring is continuously being done.“We did not notice lecheate coming out but we see some surface run-offs.”

Gonzales said with the restriction in the subject water well, the residents can utilize upstream water as their source.

Meanwhile, representatives from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) said water quality monitoring was conducted during the first quarter of the year and results show that surface and marine water tested low on chloroform and other parameters. Another water quality monitoring will be scheduled soon.

Present during the meeting yesterday were Gonzales, Agbulos, Despalo,  CDRRMO head Dr. Elmeir Apolinario and representatives from the EMB and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).  —Sheila Covarrubias