Facility opens to treat resorts' wastewater
by Rey Anthony Chiu
Panglao, Bohol (5 October) -- THAT'S more like it.
Local governments and the private sector led by local investors teamed up again for good here to preserve from environmental degradation perhaps one of Bohol's best treasures.
And just as the tandem gushes out immeasurable economic benefits, tourism stakeholders and resort owners said the development is one "positive and pro-active thing."
To help Panglao preserve its beaches, a P10M water treatment facility is set up to solve the ensuing problem of wastewater seeping into the beaches and further contaminating them with e-coli, explains Engr. Tony Tompar, president and chief executive officer of the Pilipinas Water Resources Incorporated, operator of the facility.
Then said to be of no economic value, wastewater from Panglao's Alona beaches used to be allowed to seep into the three-chambered septic tanks, and until "black springs" sprout into the beaches during low tides.
The "black springs" are accordingly indications that the water from the tanks have found their way into the beaches and it would be in no time at all, contaminating the beachfronts, Engr. Tompar points out.
The crucial environmental intervention in the new treatment facility proved to transcend political boundaries as well with Presidential Assistant to the Visayas Felix Guanzon coming.
Underscoring the government's concern for the environment, especially in keeping the beaches of Panglao as pristine to keep its standards, PA Guanzon said the initiative is laudable as it would surely cause "more tourists and spur more economic activity."
The facility, operated by a company with a track record of environmental management and Filipino ingenuity will collect wastewater through a series of lift stations strategically located along Alona Beach stretch and pump it into the facility located about a kilometer away for treatment.
The treated wastewater can again be pumped back to the resort's tanks so the treated water can be re-used for toilets, urinals and garden needs for a minimal fee, explains PWRI.
What we are actually treating perhaps is actually the same water which the resort could have been using and so about 50-70% of the water requirement for the resort is cut, thereby translating into more gains, Engr Tompar claimed.
The things is, we are a zero waste facility, he boasts while saying that the after-treatment sludge would be used to fertilize an organic demonstration farm to be set up beside the facility.
This is why we are called "Give Me Five" for the five things we offer. We are at present offering the lowest cost, the best quality water, allows realibility and sustainability and finally, we are without doubt, environment friendly, he added.
Now awaiting to iron out some kinks with the local government, Engr. Tompar hopes they could start tapping their lines to the resort's they would be serving to "plug in the leaks" that has the potential to destroy the Bohol beaches.
Ready to serve wastewater of at least 300 resort rooms, the buck is with local government officials, resort owners agree.
A month ago, the US Government through Ambassador Christie Kenney handed to Bohol an environment tool kit to help Bohol tourism stakeholders keep and protect the natural environment being a lifeline in eco-cultural tourism industry.
The Provincial Government on the other hand has been into asking commitments from tourism stakeholders to implement pro-environment measures to sustain Bohol's eco-tourism industry. (PIA) [top]