DENR says water quality improved in oil spill areas
The quality of coastal waters in Lapu- Lapu city and Cordova affected by the oil spill has significantly improved, said the environment office.
In a press statement, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the readings are still higher than the acceptable level of 2 mg/l for oil and grease but they have declined sharply based on physical and chemical analyses in over 11 water samples collected last August 29.
Four water sampling stations were taken in four beach resorts in Lapu-Lapu City.
The tests showed 5.0 mg/l at Cebu Marine or about 300 meters at the right side of the resort; 9.0 mg/l at Hadsan Cove; 7.0 mg/l at White Sand; and 8.0 mg/l at Portofino.
Four samples were collected in four barangays in Cordova which recorded 7.0 milligrams per liter (mg/l) in Bang-bang and Buagsong; 6.0 mg/l in Day-as; and 11.0 mg/l in Sitio Bantayan, Poblacion.
In Talisay City, southern Cebu, three other water samples in three barangays were also analyzed and the results stated 8.0 mg/l in Poblacion near Larawan beach; 11.0 mg/l in Dumlog; and 8.0 mg/l in Tangke.
The laboratory tests oil and grease characteristics were conducted by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The laboratory results were analyzed by chemist Jesspaz Gayoso and concurred by Pollution Control division (PCD) chief Marcelino Tabuco.
The coastal waters of Lapu-Lapu and Talisay cities and Cordova are classified as Class SB.
This means it is used for recreation activities like swimming and diving, that involve human body contact with water. It is also classifed for use as fishery.
The minimum standard for this type to assure the suitability of water for this use is 2 mg/l for oil and grease under the DENR Administrative Order Number 34, series of 1990.
This was an improvement from results of samples taken in August 18 or two days after the sinking of the MV St. Tomas Aquinas.
Samples from four sites had very high readings for oil and grease at 10,170 milligrams per liter in a water sample gathered 500 meters away from the accident area near Isla Duping
The other four sampling sites indicated 6, 8, 11, and 3,027 milligrams per liter.
Still, EMB-7 environment specialist Engr. Annabeth Noble warned Cebuanos not to swim in the oil spill affected areas.
Maj. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, Central Command chief, said the retrieval operations for the remains of the passengers were pulled back due to the oil spill.
“The whole vessel had been searched except for its deepest interiors. It’s impossible to enter but we’ll still try to enter it,” he said. DNA samples were shipped to Manila for examination.
Reporter Joy Cherry S. Quito and Correspondents Christine Emily L. Pantaleon and Jose Santino S. Bunachita
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