Benguet pushes for test of water refilling stations
by SC Aro
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (23 October) -- Alarmed with the reports of low percentage of water refilling stations in Baguio City which passed the quality standards, the provincial board is pushing for the inspection and conduct of test to all water refilling stations in the province.
Board Members Juan Nazarro, Jr. and Fernando Aritao, who authored the resolution, expressed their apprehensions that there might also be a possibility that some refilling stations do not meet the required standards and people’s lives would be at risk.
They suggested that the Provincial Health Office (PHO) will work hand in hand with the Department of Health (DOH) and other concerned government and non-government organizations to inspect all water refilling stations in the province.
The measure will be applicable to all water refilling stations whether or not they complied with the necessary permits and a test was conducted and passed the standards required by law.
The PHO is given one month from the approval of the resolution to make a report relative to the result of their inspection and test.
OIC Asst. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Norma Pacalso appreciated the move of the board to safeguard quality of drinking water expressing their concern at the moment of the lack of bacteriological studies at the provincial level.
Pacalso said they are equipped with water laboratory facility but lack manpower and reagents for water analysis. She added that issuance of sanitary permit is done at the municipal level and water testing activities should be coordinated with them.
PHO Engineer III Manuel Palasi, Jr said they had been conducting water testing but temporarily stopped last year when their reagents which entail a big budget were depleted.
Palasi said the PHO in coordination with the municipal government unit plan to conduct spot water sampling and testing of refilling stations in the municipalities from November to December this year prior to the renewal of permit come January.
He said their office will avail of the laboratory services of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) or the Baguio Health Department in coordination with the water refilling station owners.
Based on Philippine Standards for drinking water, water refilling stations which fall under level three are required to have a monthly bacteriological sampling and every six months chemical and physical analysis.
Palasi also revealed that three district hospitals namely Abatan District Hospital , Atok District Hospital and the Dennis Molintas Memorial Hospital are already equipped with water laboratory facilities under the Rural Water Supply Sanitation Sector Project otherwise known as RW3SP funded by the Asian Development Bank.
The DOH and the PHO recently facilitated the setting up of the water laboratory facilities in the district hospitals which are now considered operational. Medical technologists were also trained to man the facility according to Palasi.
A training for water operators was conducted last year initiated by the DOH in coordination with PHO as a measure in safeguarding the quality of water. This is mandated in Presidential Decree 1856 or the Code of Sanitation of the Philippines, Palasi said.
Palasi said 39 refilling stations including the three water delivery services underwent the 40-hour training purposely for the improvement, maintenance and sanitation of the facility. The remaining 11 refilling stations together with the other refilling stations in Baguio will undergo the same training this year, he added.
There are 47 water refilling stations in the province with majority or 28 found in La Trinidad, five each in Tuba and Itogon, two each in the towns of Tublay, Mankayan, Buguais, and Atok and one in Sablan. Three water delivery services which fall under the same category with refilling stations were also identified in La Trinidad. (PIA) [top]