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Molasses spill blamed for fish kill

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PAMPANGA RIVER HIT

Molasses spill blamed for fish kill

/ 06:18 AM September 21, 2017

A man inspects a section of Pampanga River in Masantol town where fish turned belly up. —SCREEN GRAB FROM PAULE ARTHUR FB PAGE

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The government of Apalit town in Pampanga province has suspended the business permit of an alcohol fermentation plant operating there, following fish kill reports along the stretch of Pampanga River in the towns of Macabebe and Masantol.

Fishermen reported seeing tons of fish, shrimps, crabs and eels floating downstream of the river.

Apalit Mayor Peter Nucom said three delivery tanks owned by Far East Alcohol Corp. (Feaco) leaked molasses on Tuesday, prompting him to suspend the company for 30 days after withdrawing their permit.

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Each tank contained three tons of molasses, a byproduct of sugar which is used in producing alcoholic beverages.

The Feaco plant is located in Barangay San Vicente, beside a decommissioned alcohol fermentation factory owned by another company. A Feaco official declined to comment when reached by the Inquirer.

The suspension takes effect today. “I will not allow the resumption of Feaco operations until it apologizes to and gets clearances from the towns of Macabebe and Masantol,” Nucom told the Inquirer by telephone on Wednesday.

He said he also castigated Feaco for not reporting the leaks to the local government, the Pampanga provincial government, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Pampanga River, spanning 260 kilometers, drains water from 30 river systems in Central Luzon toward Manila Bay.

“The river took the color of beer,” former Masantol Vice Mayor Marcelo Lacap Jr. said, referring to the brown color that spread in the water off Barangay Sagrada Familia in the town at around 5 a.m. on Wednesday.

Lacap said he also suspected that the fish kill was caused by discharges from the Feaco plant.

“The fish did not come from the Bataan side of the Manila Bay. These floated from upstream,” he said.

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The BFAR Central Luzon office sent a team to collect water samples.

This was the second fish kill incident to occur in these areas since July 2015.

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TAGS: Far East Alcohol Corp., Feaco, molasses leak, Pampanga River fish kill, Peter Nucom
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