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Dr. Merlinda Palencia, inventor of an ecology-friendly septic system (second from right), explains to officials how the system works during a presentation in Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte. (photo by Erwin Mascarinas)

DOT sees new way to treat sewage in Siargao

By ERWIN MASCARIÑAS
Correspondent .

BUTUAN City – The Department of Tourism (DOT) is looking into the viability of an alternative cost-effective and ecology-friendly way to set up septic system for tourism establishments and government facilities on environmentally compromised areas and island eco-systems.

Ana Nuguid, regional director of DOT in Caraga, expressed her interest on the development of an ecology-friendly septic waste treatment system that she hopes could cater the growing demand for resorts to abide to environmental standards.

Nuguid said they are considering a project introduced by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through Adamson University–the so-called Eco-friendly Septic System or Eco-Sep. The project is said to be able to address the treatment of sewerage and waste water from households, resorts, hotels and public establishment especially on island tourist destinations such as in Siargao.

The Eco-Sys project was first presented by Adamson University during the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) in Butuan City this July 24. 

Nuguid pointed out that the drive in pushing resorts and tourist establishments into having proper sewerage treatment mechanism offers a huge avenue for the Eco-Sep technology.

“The system offered during the DOST caravan has a promising potential and could be a huge help in the drive to improve the present conditions of sewerage system especially with the different tourism establishment throughout Caraga Region in which most of them are located on the beaches and on the islands,” said Nuguid.

Dr. Merlinda Palencia, inventor of Eco-Sep and Chemical Engineering  professor and former dean of the Graduate School of Adamson University, explained that the system has huge potentials in creating cheaper and faster upgrade while adhering to eco-standards for homes, establishments and government facilities. 

She said the installation of the system makes use of filtration and bioremediation which can remove Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Biochemecal Oxygen Demand (BOD) and same pathogens on existing septic systems.

“What we just need is a ready-made plastic septic tank, our powder organomineral mix and then a drain field. So far, our findings have indicated an overall effective reduction in the odor of our septic tanks and improvement in the septic water quality,” said Palencia.

According to DOST, Eco-Sep has been introduced in Siargao Island with a beach resort and general Luna National High School as a pilot test bed for the septic system.

Dominga Mallonga, regional director of DOST in Caraga,  explained that the data from the pilot areas in Siargao indicated a decrease in the BOD, which means before the water from the septic before it reaches a body of water, it is already clean from harmful biological contaminants.

“One of the main component in the treatment is the organomineral powder known as Vigormin that Dr Palencia also invented, the powder when mixed with water and flushed into the septic system from the toilet helps enhance the quality of the waste water and remove its odor,” said Mallonga.

Mallonga said the Vigormin product is safe and has been laboratory tested for six years before the introduction in the field.

“The Vigormin product was event used in Boracay to help reduce and remove TSS, BOD and pathogens from the septic system,” said Mallonga.

DOT-Caraga officials said they were looking forward to the project with DOST and hopefully introduce the technology to resorts and tourism establishments not only in Siargao island but other parts of Caraga.

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