Town council extends closure of alcohol fermenting plant
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The Apalit town council had extended the closure of an alcohol fermentation plant there until the end of the year, following a fish kill in Pampanga River running through three towns.
Acting on his request, Mayor Peter Nucom said the council on Tuesday extended his Sept. 20 order suspending the operations of Far East Alcohol Corp. (Feaco) until December.
Nucom said most of the councilors were shown results of water quality tests which confirmed pollution on stretches of Pampanga River in Apalit, Macabebe and Masantol towns.
In a phone interview, Nucom said the company violated the Clean Water Act when three of its tanks leaked nine tons of molasses blamed for the Sept. 20 fish kill. Molasses, a byproduct of sugar, is used for making alcoholic beverages.
Feaco’s owners did not attend the council session. The company had not opposed the suspension order nor issued a statement regarding Nucom’s charge.
It was not immediately known how many Feaco workers would be affected by the temporary shutdown.
Nucom said the extended shutdown would give Feaco time to fix its facilities and prevent future discharges of molasses and other substances into the river.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources confirmed on Sept. 21 that a fish kill occurred in the river running through Macabebe and Masantol.
It traced the fish kill to pollution downstream of the Pampanga River, but did not attribute it to molasses leaking from the Feaco tanks. —Tonette Orejas
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