Based on the Water Quality Management Area (WQMA) 10 – year compliance scheme, the city government has crafted its Baguio Sewage Treatment Plant (BSTP) roadmap for the upgrade of the existing STP at Sanitary Camp and expansion in Lower Rock Quarry. The local government is mandated to treat its own waste water and build its own STP for its populace.
The existing BSTP, now 32 years operational and exceeded its capacity, is one of the challenges the local government is faced with in the management of its waste water, according to Engr. Moises Lozano, Assistant Head of City Environment and Park Management Office (CEPMO) and Division Chief of the Wastewater Management Division.
The existing STP caters only to Balili waste water catchment serving about 10 percent of the city’s population. It covers 65 barangays which compose 10,248 structures such as residential, commercial establishments, mixed institutions, government offices as well as eight communal septic tanks, said Lozano. Individual septic tanks in 53 barangays established their own outside of the BSTP based on 2012 data, he added.
Apart from the Balili catchment which compose bulk of the population or equivalent to 41 percent of the city’s population, there are still three other catchments areas namely Asin-Galiano, Bued and Ambalanga which accounts for 24%, 26% and 9%, of the city’s total population, respectively. The day time city population is about 400,000 and about 380,000 at night time, Lozano said.
The Sanitary Camp STP upgrading costs P343.37 million. Once implemented, it will increase its total capacity from 8,600 cubic meters to 14,800 cubic meters per day.
The decentralized STP proposed at Lower Rock Quarry has an estimated cost of P148.59 million with a capacity of 7,600 cubic meters per day. The proposed STP which covers the Asin-Galiano catchment is expected to cater to 16 barangays. Budget of P10M is allotted for the fencing of the proposed STP to prevent entry of squatters is set for implementation late this year, Lozano added.
Also identified for rehabilitation and construction are the main sewer lines spanning 25.7 kilometers.
Lozano underscored some other major challenges in the waste water management operations such as presence of fats, oil, and grease accumulation to sewer lines attributing this to the absence of oil or grease separator or trap of some establishments; illegal sewer connections due to lack of manpower to monitor; low monitoring of septage collection at source; high cost of operations but low revenue from collections; no spare units of equipment and devices; large volume of solid wastes hauled during water way clean-ups; and the growing population.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Executive Director Ralph Pablo committed to work with the city government in addressing the problem on fats, oil and grease accumulation in sewer lines. (JDP/SCA-PIA-CAR)