DENR want higher sewerage fees on commercial bldgs

Rehabilitating Baguio City from ‘urban decay’ may start with the inspection and improvement of sewer lines and the sewerage system to ensure that residential, institutional and commercial structures are not disposing their untreated liquid waste directly to the environment.
This was according to Engr. Ralph Pablo, regional director of the Cordillera Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during a recent meeting with the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) on wastewater management.
Pablo pointed out the need to review the city’s sewerage fees to impose higher rate on commercial establishments or require owners to construct their own septic facilities.
“Hotels and condominiums are almost always fully-booked and they add to the volume of liquid waste that needs to be processed for treatment by the city,” Pablo said.
Engr. Moises Lozano, assistant head of CEPMO and division chief of the Wastewater Management Division (WAMD) explained that the Environment Code of Baguio provides an automatic increase in sewerage fees every three years.
He added establishments with a volume of 12 cubic meters wastewater on a daily basis are required to construct their own sewerage treatment plant under the city’s Environment Code.
The Environment Code provides the highest rate of sewerage fees at P1,500 for industrial-sized dishwashing or laundry facilities and P500 for small laundry businesses; in a monthly basis.
For lodging houses, boarding houses and dormitories, the Environment Code prescribes a monthly rate of P150 per toilet bowl and kitchen sink compared to the rate of P60 for hotels, condominiums and hospitals, private residences and apartment units, restaurants, eateries, carinderias, franchised food outlets, cocktail lounges, night clubs, including establishments with shower rooms such as spas, gyms, and businesses providing bath services.
Banks, grocery stores, variety stores, department stores and offices for personal services were given a monthly rate of P75 per toilet bowl while P40 for schools and universities.
Meanwhile, a one-time sewer connection permit fee for residential buildings is P500 and the rate for commercial buildings is pegged at P1,000.
Lozano said even with these fees collected, it would not suffice to cover the operating expenses of the 32 year-old Baguio Sewage Treatment Plant (BSTP) with over 10,000 structures connected and eight communal septic tanks being serviced. On the average, Lozano said the city collect about P18 million from sewerage fees annually but the operating expenses are way higher at P23 million.
The city government is now working on the expansion project to double the capacity of the BSTP from the current 8,600 cubic meters per day.**By Jessa Mardy P. Samidan

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