(MANILA STANDARD) – A first-in-the-world plant that treats waste water from both ‘estero’ and wet market and which complies with US Environmental Protection Agency standards was recently turned over to the Manila city government.
A Filipino-developed technology called “sequence bio-reactor” (SBR) employed in the Paco Estero plant was donated as a grant to Manila City Hall by technology provider Eco-System Technology Inc.
The technology may be replicated to treat many polluted river and water systems in the country, the company said in a statement. “It is able to generate an effluent that is of highest quality for non-potable water reuse—10 milligrams per liter or less. It keeps up with the United States effluent standards for water discharged to the environment.”
Treating waste water from the Paco estero and public market may seem difficult. It is a combination of household waste, sewer backflow, Pasig River (and Manila Bay) intrusion from the tidal flows, rain, and flood water.
ESTI’s SBR technology is able to comply with and even exceed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ effluent standard in biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) of 50 mg per liter. BOD is a measure of how much oxygen is needed to allow for waste’s decomposition; the lower the better.
SBR has been the preferred sewage treatment technology in the last decade in developed countries as the US, and now also in the Philippines.
Its effluent is ideal for water reuse— for cooling tower, watering plants or irrigation, and toilet flushing.
The SBR plant was bestowed as a grant to the Manila city government by ESTI. It was completed under ESTI’s partnership with ABS-CBN Foundation, in coordination with DENR. It collects 220 cubic meters of waste water daily.
“ The clean, clear water from the SBR facility is able to recharge the water in the Paco Estero. This is even if the Paco Estero is affected by high tide and low tide,” said ESTI president Robert Y. So. “This is our CSR [corporate social responsibility] to our community.”
The Paco Estero stretches over 2.9 kilometers and drains into the Pasig River.
ESTI envisions replication of this Paco plant in other river systems like Pasig River that are severely polluted.
While many efforts have been devoted to clean the Pasig River over many decades now but failed, the SBR technology is already a successful, proven technology that can actually clean up Pasig River.
“There are 49 tributaries connecting to the Pasig River. There can be similar plants as that in Paco Estero that may be put up there to provide clean water for non-potable use to communities around Pasig River,” said So.
The Sequence Batch Reactor has long been adopted since the 1980s in municipal and industrial sites in the US and throughout the developed world.