OCENR, CHO bare initial probe results on Salaan water issue PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 July 2015 11:44

by Claudine Uniana

Both the Office of the Environment and Natural Resources (OCENR) and the City Health Office (CHO) quickly responded to health concerns following reports of alleged water contamination caused by the city-operated sanitary landfill (SLF) in Barangay Salaan.

City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Engr. Rey Gonzales led a team to conduct ocular inspections and investigate the possible causes of the alleged contamination of a water pit or poso within the SLF property.

Results of the initial investigation has identified the flushing out of residues within the earth berm/dike of the landfill cell and washing out dried residues in the water way.

The possible contamination is also attributed to two cases of vandalism. According to the incident report, on July 3, OCENR personnel “discovered that the PE pipe which conveys the leachate from the cell to the Leachate Treatment Facility system was deliberately chopped/cut and disconnected by individuals who intruded the facility. The cut portion to the PE pipe was seen about 15 meters away from the lift station.”

On July 9, the report continues, “it was also discovered that the inlet pipe at the Anaerobic Baffled Reactor (ABR) was detached/disconnected.” Both incidents may have caused the discharge of leachate into the area adjacent to the landfill cell and into the waterway.

For its part, the City Health Office (CHO) also dispatched its own team to collect and test water samples to determine the level of contamination in the water. The Environment Management Bureau also took samples for their own investigation.

City Health Officer Dr. Rodelin Agbulos yesterday revealed that the water collected from the well tested positive for Escherichia coli or E. coli, a bacteria that can cause mild to severe diarrhea depending on the strain.

The city official shared that four cases of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) were registered at the barangay health unit from June 16 to 30. Such figure, according to Agbulos, is “even very low” considering that acute gastroenteritis is the usual complaints of patients.

As for the lone case of skin disease, Agbulos found out that the patient lives near the suspect poso and has been suffering from the disease for more than a month now.

Both offices have already coordinated with the Salaan barangay officials to immediately cordon the poso and to strictly prohibit/restrict nearby residents from getting inside the SLF property.

The OCENR also immediately “established an interceptor/trenches near the earth wall of the landfill cell and across the waterway to capture and contain the surface and sub-surface water run-off coming from the earth wall and adjacent area, purposely for containment of run-offs and water quality monitoring.” — Claudine Uniana