Require regular emptying of septic tanks, LGUs urged

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

EMPTYING of septic tanks every three to five years would soon be required in Metro Cebu local government units (LGUs) as part of septage management.

Members of the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB) yesterday agreed to help the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) convince LGUs to pass an ordinance for the mandatory desludging of septic tanks after an inspection on 30 wells in Cordova town and in Mactan revealed traces of nitrates of tolerable levels.

MCWD Acting General Manager Ernie Delco said the presence of nitrates indicates that human waste matter from septic tanks has seeped into water wells.


“If tourists realize that drinking water in urban areas is unsafe, how can we assure their safety?” said Cebu Business Club president Gordon Allan Joseph.

So far, only Cebu City and Cordova town have passed a mandatory desludging ordinance, said Delco. Those of Lapu-Lapu and Talisay cities are still under negotiation.

An ordinance is needed because MCWD does not have police powers and initial cost of setting up a septage management system will lessen if the amount is shared by the LGUs.


Delco said each LGU ordinance must have these salient provisions: mandatory desludging every three to five years, and specific size of septic tanks for uniformity and easy maneuvering of desludging trucks.

Costs will be determined through a public hearing and payment done by installment and incorporated in the water bills of MCWD subscribers, said Delco.

National Economic and Development Authority 7 Director Efren Carreon said there is a government program for this and what is needed is a letter of intent from LGUs to avail themselves of the program.

Last February 24, the Provincial Board passed a resolution on raising the need to monitor the disposal of wastes extracted from septic tanks, and for water utilities and LGUs to implement sewage management and sanitation programs to ensure proper disposal of septic wastes.

Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy welcomed MCDCB’s move, saying it will enhance his campaign to have toilet facilities in every barangay.

Road right-of-way

Also yesterday, the MCDCB tackled the problem on governments acquiring lots for road-right-of-way (RROW), and agreed on the need to make representations to Cebu congressmen to amend the existing law on RROW acquisition.

Department of Public Works and Highways 7 Director Ador Canlas, whose projects are always bogged down by RROW problems, said government has three mode of lot acquisitions for projects: donation, negotiated purchase, and expropriation.

Lawyer Rose Liza Eisma Osorio said what needs to be amended are provisions on eliminating negotiated purchase as a mode of acquisition or make it a least priority among the three, and that no temporary restraining order or similar court proceedings should stop or delay lot acquisition.

DPWH’s Canlas also suggested to include the need to hasten expropriation proceedings.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 10, 2014.

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