Following the filing of Senate Resolution 747 by Senator Cynthia Villar to conduct an inquiry on the state of wastewater treatment in Metro Manila, Metropolitan Water Works and Sewerage System Administrator Reynaldo Velasco reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to carry out its responsibilities as stipulated in Republic Act 9275, also known as the Philippine Clean Water Act.
“We are continuously working with our concessionaires—Manila Water and Maynilad—to find ways to speed up the establishment of additional sewerage treatment plants in Metro Manila,” Velasco said.
This was made after a meeting with top water officials led by Manila Water president Ferdinand de la Cruz, Maynilad president Ramoncito Fernandez and MWSSRO chief Patrick Ty.
The MWSS chief also welcomed the Senate inquiry to enlighten the public on the “implementation and enforcement of laws with respect to the provision of adequate sanitation, drainage and sewer facilities in Metro Manila.”
The MWSS mandate to “assist in the establishment, operation and maintenance of waterworks and sewerage systems within its jurisdiction” is reinforced by the Philippine Clean Water Act that requires MWSS “to connect the existing sewage line found in all subdivisions, condominiums, commercial centers, hotels, sports and recreational facilities, hospitals, marketplaces, public buildings, industrial complex and other similar establishments including households to available sewerage system.”
While Metro Manila and nearby provinces covered by concession agreements between MWSS and the two concessionaires, Manila Water and Maynilad, are not yet 100 percent covered by wastewater treatment plants, both concessionaires are committed to achieve full coverage within the duration of their respective concession agreements. Per MWSS, the actual coverage at present is pegged at 22 percent.
Recently, MWSS unveiled a wastewater management facility of Maynilad in Pasay City that will process up to 46.6 million liters of wastewater per day.
With the new facility, Metro Manila now has 58 waste water treatment facilities.
Maynilad, which covers the Metro Manila’s West Zone, maintains and operates 17 sewage treatment plants, two combined Sewage and Septage Treatment Plants and one Septage Treatment Plant that process wastewater and sludge collected from customers. Nineteen of its STPs in Muntinlupa, Caloocan, Manila, and Quezon City earned for the company ISO certifications in quality, environment, and safety and health management
“Maynilad strives to keep improving processes for enhanced reliability and efficiency of our wastewater services,” said Maynilad President and CEO Fernandez.
“Attaining these ISO certifications affirms that we are on the right track in our bid to operate world-class wastewater facilities,” he added.
For Manila Water, its water sewerage service includes the operation and maintenance of networks of sewer pipelines that collect and convey sewage to sewage treatment plants.
Likewise, its sanitation service involves the operation and maintenance of vacuum trucks that clean or desludge household septic tanks and septage treatment plants that receive and treat the hauled septage before disposing the treated byproducts (treated wastewater and biosolids) through environment-safe means.
For Manila Water’s concession area that is not connected to a sewerage system, wastewater is disposed into septic tanks.
Because septic tanks provide only primary treatment, they eventually leak out pollution into the groundwater or into municipal drainage systems, eventually finding its way into our rivers, MWSS said in a statement.
To address this issue, Manila Water operates a fleet of 50 vacuum trucks and performs regular, scheduled septic tank cleaning services (desludging) for communities at no additional cost.
Manila Water also provides emergency services to customers for a fee.
Manila Water operates a total of 39 STPs with a combined treatment capacity of 310 million liters per day.