Closure of wastewater treatment plant to stop operations of Clark locators

CLARK FREEPORT – The possible closure of the Clark Water Corporation’s (CWC) wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) will stop the operations of locators inside the Clark Freeport.

This came after the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) warned the Clark Water Corporation (CWC) that their Temporary Discharge Permit (TDP) may not be renewed when it expires on October 30, 2021.

 According to EMB Region 3 Director Wilson Trajeco in a letter dated October 25, 2021, addressed to CWC and a copy furnished to Clark Development Corporation (CDC) and Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA), the TDP will only be renewed if CWC continues to work on their present project site to meet effluent criteria.

EMB, headed by Trajeco, has threatened to issue a Cease-and-Desist Order (CDO) to CWC for the second time this year.

If the TDP is not renewed by October 30, a CDO will be issued, and CWC’s Wastewater Treatment Plant will be closed, leaving each Clark locator in charge of their own wastewater disposal.

The General Effluent Standards require each locator to dispose of their effluent to meet the guidelines, if not, each locator may face possible fines and penalties. Because no company in Clark is capable of managing its own wastewater, they will all be forced to close if the problem is not resolved by October 30.

CDC President and CEO Manuel Gaerlan said that they will employ all available methods, including legal action and appeals to other government bodies linked to EMB, to ensure that the locators will not confront the problem of no wastewater treatment in the Freeport.

CILA President Jeannie Ng said that the persistent threat of EMB in closing the WWTP is causing undue anxiety to business owners inside the Freeport.

“This is the second time this year that the EMB has threatened to issue a Cease-and-Desist Order (CDO) to CWC. This constant threat does not help in boosting investor confidence and in maintaining a business-friendly regulatory environment in the zone. If CWC says they have passed the water sampling of discharged water done by EMB, why are they being threatened with another CDO and non-renewal of discharge permit? Shouldn’t the discharge permit be based on passing the discharge or effluent standards only and not on any building plan?” she added.

For his part, CILA Chairman Ireneo “Bong” Alvaro, asked the EMB to address the matter quickly. Meanwhile, he thanked CDC for supporting the locators’ demand for affordable and safe water. “We are wondering why EMB is so concerned about CWC’s completion of the new WWTP when proof of compliance from CWC should be enough. Why is EMB so concerned about the building permit to be issued by CDC? This is already an encroachment of CDC function,” he said.

 Last October 28, The CDC, CILA, and CWC convened an emergency meeting to discuss the impending crisis and devise a strategy in dealing with various scenarios. CWC assured CILA and CDC during the meeting that they would meet CDC’s building permission standards and secure an extension of the TDP to avoid an emergency. Christina Cruz, CWC’s General Manager, vows to do everything possible to meet EMB’s extension requirements.