Legazpi City water supply unsafe for drinking

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Legazpi City Mayor Geraldine Rosal. Photo Courtesy: PIA Bikol
Legazpi City Mayor Geraldine Rosal. Photo Courtesy: PIA Bikol

LEGAZPI CITY – City Mayor Geraldine Rosal issued a health bulletin on Tuesday advising residents here to refrain from drinking the water supplied by the Legazpi City Water District (LCWD).

She said residents who could not afford to buy from water refilling stations may opt to boil their tap water for not less than 25 minutes.

A study of the University of the Philippines Natural Sciences and Research Institute (UP-NSRI) revealed that the water provided by PhilHydro to the LCWD does not conform with the Philippine National Standard for Drinking Water (PNSDW).

The study showed that the water that flows to household faucets contains high levels of magnesium, hardness (calcium carbonate) and total dissolved solids (TDS).

The presence of magnesium in water enhances the formation of kidney stones when regularly taken, according to Engineer Alain Mape, Provincial Sanitary Office.

PhilHydro, a water facility firm operating in this city, faces possible closure after it was found out by the Department of Health (DOH) to have committed violations in the Sanitation Code of the Philippines.

PhilHydro’s business permit was revoked by the city government on recommendation of the DOH, saying that the company failed to comply with the requirements needed to operate a water supply facility.

Nestor Santiago, DOH regional director, said the agency found that PhilHydro committed at least three violations including the failure to secure with the DOH an initial permit to develop a drinking water supply system.

The company after it completed the construction of the water supply system and supplied drinking water to consumers also failed to secure a DOH Operational Permit, Santiago said.

PhilHydro entered an agreement with the LCWD in March 2007 to supply bulk water for a period of 25 years.

A consumers’ group, and a non-government organization complained that the water supplied by the LCWD through PHilHydro facility was murky and with foul odor.

Last June, the Sangguniang Panglunsod served a notice of the violation and PhilHydro was given 60 days but failed to comply with the DOH requirements until its deadline expired on Sunday.

Rosal said Rolando Mangulabnan, PhilHydro chief operating officer, in responding to the notice instead asked for an extension of six months to meet the requirements to secure for the DOH initial and operational permits.

The city government is just waiting for the final action of the DOH regarding this matter.

PhilHydro with a P500-million investment to operate a Bulk Water supply facility supplies 600,000 cubic meters of potable water monthly to the LCWD which in turn delivers this water to 25,000 households in this city. (PNA)

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