ANTIPOLO CITY – A huge portion of this city’s river system is expected to see a resurgence in freshwater life when a PHP 2.5 billion sewerage treatment plant (STP) becomes operational late this year.
The Hinulugang Taktak STP, which is being built at the crest (also known as the brink) of the iconic waterfalls, is now “more than 60 percent complete” and is expected to be operational by December, according to the management of Manila Water (MW).
In an interview on Thursday, Dittie Galang, MW corporate communications head, said decades of unchecked dumping of pollutants has rendered the river system being fed by Hinulugang Taktak Waterfalls inhabitable to fishes and other freshwater animals.
“We understand the need for this kind of facility in Antipolo… and we have been working closely with the local government to make this happen. This project places a lot of importance to protecting the environment and combatting all sorts of water-borne diseases,” she told the Philippine News Agency.
Galang explained that aside from reviving the river ecosystem, the project is intended to provide more efficient sewer service to some 148,000 residents of Barangays Dela Paz, San Isidro, San Roque, and San Jose here.
She pointed out that the billion-peso project entails more than just constructing the STP infrastructure, but also requires building new sewer lines and revamping existing sewer lines in what was referred to as a “combined system.”
When completed, the Hinulugang Taktak STP is expected to gather wastewater before it flows down the river system, purify it until it can be considered “Class C” water, and then release the treated water back into the falls.
“Class C” water, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources guidelines, is not fit for human consumption but it is clean enough for freshwater fishes to repopulate and thrive in, according to the spokesperson.
The clarification came amid a gastroenteritis outbreak in Baguio City, which has aroused public interest in the quality of water on the tap.
Galang stressed that the Hinulugang Taktak STP is totally separate from the water concessionaire’s Calawis water treatment plant (WTP) in Antipolo, and the East Bay WTP in Laguna, both of which are designed to supply potable water to customers.
She said the Hinulugang Taktak STP will allow the city’s freshwater ecosystem to recover but the water it will produce is not intended for drinking. (PNA)