Regularly cleaning household septic tanks helps maintain the overall sanitation and health of the larger community and one’s home, but this is not common knowledge in some places.
Barangay Malanday in Marikina is one of the city’s most populous barangays, but many residents are unaware of the need for routine, preventive maintenance of their septic tanks.
Barangay Secretary Cora Trocio and other local government workers make it their mission to inform residents of scheduled septic tank desludging operations held by Manila Water, the government’s contracted concessionaire servicing the area.
Desludging septic tanks at no additional cost form part of the Toka Toka advocacy of Manila Water, which is centered around partnerships with local government units and residents in areas serviced by the company.
Projects revolve around communities doing their part in helping maintain smooth-flowing sanitation in tandem with the utility company, thus “toka,” which can mean one’s contribution or share in community affairs.
Manila Water can also conduct desludging on-call, out of schedule, but this time, individual homeowners or businesses will need to pay for the service.
Many private contractors offer desludging services, which can be costly. Rates hover around P4,000 for residential tanks and can go higher than P8,000 for commercial areas.
“If septic tank desludging isn’t regularly done, septage from septic tanks could overflow and cause drainage clogging,” said Denice Versace Mandia, septage management manager of the Manila Water’s North Septage Treatment Plant.
Mandia said the overflow may pose a long-term health hazard as pollution run-off can infect nearby clean water routes and supplies, including drinking water.
Often, people only avail of septic tank cleaning when the symptoms of a neglected septic tank, like foul odors from the ground, are too apparent.
“This run-off can eventually pollute rivers,” Trocio said.
Malanday is situated by the banks of the Marikina River, and pollution from other sources has historically caused the banks to flood, forcing residents to evacuate.
For October, the following barangays are scheduled for desludging: Barangays San Roque, Calumpang, and Sto. Niño, Sta. Elena, Nangka, and Fortune in Marikina City; Barangays Culiat, Paligsahan, Matandang Balara, Marilag, Mangga, Kaunlaran, Valencia, and Immaculate Concepcion in Quezon City; Barangays 766, 770, 772, 780, 782, 783, 79, 793, 866, 869, 873, 874, 875, 876, 894, 896, 897, 898, 899, 903, 904, 905 in the City of Manila; Barangays Buwayang Bato, Hulo, Plainview and Welfareville Compound, Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City; Barangays Carmona, Poblacion, Sta. Cruz, Tejeros, East Rembo and San Lorenzo in Makati City; Barangay Tibagan in San Juan City; Barangay South Daang-Hari in Taguig City; and Barangay San Martin de Porres in Parañaque City.
The desludging caravan will also visit Barangays San Isidro, Dalig, and Dela Paz in Antipolo City and Barangay Darangan in Binangonan in the province of Rizal.