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MWSS: Many customers unaware of water firms’ deslugding service

/ 12:18 AM July 11, 2019
 Pasig River

Overfilled septic tanks release their waste to the emnvironemnt and may end up in waterways like the Pasig River. (File photo JILSON SECKLER TIU / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines – Many customers are unaware that water concessionaires have services to desludge septic tanks and treat wastewater, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) officials said.

According to Carlito Espellardo, a department manager at the MWSS Regulatory Office (MWSS RO), a lot of households have not sought the desludging services of Maynilad or Manila Water.

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“As we can see with the record of the MWSS Regulatory Office, only 60 percent of the customers avail of these desludging services for Maynilad, and 71 percent for Manila Water,” Espellardo said during the Water Forum conducted on Wednesday.

“Well, we have seen the reasons why. There’s a lack of customers awareness on the program, this is why the MWSS Regulatory Office is going to cooperate with the water concessionaires with the information drive,” he added.

Espellardo also noted that there were some customers who did not know where their septic tanks are located, while some who would like to avail the services were reluctant because of the inconvenience.

At the same forum, the water concessionaires explained the process of cleaning wastewater from septic tanks.

Septic tanks not connected to the companies’ main line — or through the canal system — would have to be desludged manually, using trucks siphoning the wastewater before transferring it to a treatment facility.

These would then be subjected to filtering, treatment, and testing procedures, before being returned to major waterways.

According to Chief Regulator Patrick Ty, this process is important, because malfunctioning or overfilled septic tanks have detrimental effects on the environment, the community, and its residents.

“I hope that through events like this one we can raise the awareness again about problems in sanitation and sewerage,” Ty, speaking in Filipino, told reporters after the event.

“The worst-case scenario, if they wouldn’t get the waste siphoned, the septic tanks would overflow. The waste would go out to the environment. It would not be treated. That is dirty water, which Pasig River, San Juan River, and Manila Bay have become dirty,” he added.

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Scheduling has also been a problem. Most of the water concessionaire’s desludging services are available during weekdays — the same time when residents are at work or in school.

Meanwhile, to recognize local government units (LGUs) cooperating with the water concessionaires, MWSS RO gave awards to top three outstanding barangays in the small, medium, and large categories.

It also announced the top three cities in terms of the number of desludged septic tanks — Makati in the top spot, followed by Pasay in second and Marikina in third place.

Ty explained the winning local governments can use the citations to bag awards offered by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), such as the Seal of Good Local Government (SGLG).

He also encouraged customers of Maynilad and Manila Water to avail of these services, because the fees for desludging are already part of their monthly billing — which means that the water concessionaires could not seek additional fees.

It’s not free. But it’s already paid for. It’s part of your water bill. So if you don’t avail of it, you’re wasting what you already paid for,” Ty said.

According to him, what usually happens is customers wait for septic tanks to get full before they ask for desludging. But then it happens that the can’t be scheduled for desludging immediately. So they end up calling a desludging company.

/atm

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TAGS: Manila Water, Maynilad, MWSS, septic tank desludging
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