Public hearing starts on septage law in CSF

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The City Council of San Fernando and the City of San Fernando Water District on Friday started a series of public hearings on the draft ordinance on septage management to ensure clean water in the Pampanga capital.

Councilor Redentor Halili, chair of the council’s committee on environmental protection, natural resources, waterways and flooding intervention; and CSFWD chair Ferdinand Caylao led the public consultation at the Heroes Hall.

The draft is titled “An Ordinance Establishing a Septage Management System in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga, Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof and for other Purposes.”

“This ordinance is long overdue,” Halili told more than 120 multi-sectoral leaders.

CSFWD general manager Jorge Gumba said no opposition was raised during the public hearing.

“This means that the people have a real need for this facility or are aware of the need for clean water,” Gumba said.

The construction and operation of sewerage and septage systems are required by the Clean Water Act of 2004 (Republic Act No. 9275). The law imposes a fine of P200,000 for every day of non-compliance.

The National Sewerage and Septage Management Program, implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways, set 2020 as deadline for cities.

Halili has requested to lower the septage fee, which the CSFWD proposed at P3.25 per cubic meter. This will be collected in the water bill so concessionaire will not have to pay a lump sum for desludging services.

Caylao said at that amount, desludging cost is cheaper. Ruben Pineda, a resident of Villa Victoria, said private companies charge between P5,000 and P10,000.

“What is more important is that human waste and wastewater are treated and not dumped anywhere. There are companies that siphon septage tanks but these do not have treatment facilities in our city,” he said. Back in 2009, a company was fined for dumping sludge in sugarcane farms in Barangay Alasas and Magliman.

“We need to embrace this project for the sake of our children and our children’s children. We should protect our groundwater from contamination,” Caylao said.

The draft needs a provision allowing residents in subdivisions not being served by the CSFWD to avail of the septage service.

Loreto Limcolioc, general manager of the San Jose del Monte Water District, shared information on how the city implemented its septage project.

Because the draft ordinance prohibits the use of creeks and other forms of waterways for the disposal of human waste (feces and urine), it was suggested that the city government should allot funds for the construction of communal toilets.

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