DENR probes wastewater discharge in Manila Bay

January 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu yesterday ordered an investigation to determine the establishments responsible for the recent discharge of untreated wastewater in Manila Bay amid the government’s rehabilitation efforts.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will trace the illegal pipes that directly drain wastewater to Manila Bay, Cimatu said.

“We will study the legal actions against these establishments to ensure that they are made accountable for their violation of environmental laws,” he said.

Cimatu issued the statement after a culvert or drainage pipe, hidden behind boulders at Station 640 along Manila’s Baywalk, was found to be discharging untreated wastewater directly into the bay.

The DENR said a water sample analysis showed a high fecal coliform count at 50 million most probable number per 100 milliliters.

Further inspection by the DENR led to the discovery of three more culvert pipes along the Baywalk, specifically beside the Remedios drainage outfall across Aristocrat Restaurant, Station 240 beside the Padre Faura outfall and near the Estero San Antonio de Abad outfall.

The coliform level, specifically at the Remedios outfall, measured 32 million MPN/100 ml, the DENR said.

The standard coliform level for coastal waters to be considered safe for swimming and other recreational activities is between 200 and 100 MPN per 100 milliliters, according to the DENR.

The DENR said a total of 33 intake drainages were also observed from the US embassy to the Manila Yacht Club.

“We will continue to examine these culverts, illegal connections and outfalls. Otherwise, these will continue to spew out pollutants that can impede the progress in the rehabilitation of Manila Bay,” Cimatu said.

He also ordered the immediate plugging of illegal outfalls to stop the flow of untreated water and for the establishments to connect to official sewer lines.

Cimatu instructed the Manila Bay task force to conduct desiltation and rehabilitation of line drainage canal to improve water flow in the Padre Faura and Remedios outfalls.

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