Research finds solutions to wastewater clean-up

Published February 5, 2019, 7:34 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Dhel Nazario

In a bid to address the pressing issue on treating the wastewater of the country’s renowned surf spot in Siargao, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) supported a research project to develop a wastewater clean-up technology.


General Luna, Siargao, which is the home to the famous “Cloud 9” wave, has been facing a pressing issue on treating their wastewater as this has an effect on ensuring the sustainability of province’s tourism.

“The previous septic tank of the resort has a bottomless design, kaya direkta po ang paglabas ng aming wastewater sa dagat. At ang contamination po nito sa ating tubig ay malaking problema ng mga resorts dito sa isla. (The previous septic tanks of the resort have a bottomless design, so the wastewater drains straight into the sea. The contamination of the water is one of the biggest problems of resorts in the island)” narrated Ms. Editha Gonzales, former General Manager of Travelers Pension House & Beach Resort in General Luna, Siargao.

The DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development then introduced the Eco-Friendly Septic System or Eco-Sep, a self-sustaining, portable, and movable wastewater treatment system that uses an innovative combination of bio-stimulation and filtration enhanced with organominerals developed by Dr. Merlinda Palencia through the support of DOST-PCIEERD.

The Eco-Sep’s Vigormin Organo Mineral (ViOM) is an odorless, white powder composed of various organo-minerals that have the capability to neutralize the poignant odor and the mucky color in wastewaters or septic water.  Its application significantly improves water quality based on the effluents standards set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Following the successful testing of Eco-Sep in the sewerage systems of the bunkers of Yolanda survivors in Palo, Leyte last 2013 and on a Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs), hotels, jetty ports, and households in Boracay last 2015, DOST Caraga installed and field-tested Eco-Sep in selected tourism areas and environmentally compromised areas through a DOST-PCIEERD funded project titled, “Field Testing of Eco-Friendly Septic System for the Tourism Sector in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte” or Project FRESH.

Further, she thanked DOST for providing a one-year supply of Virgormin and mentioned that after a year of full implementation of the improved sewerage system thru Eco-Sep, their resort is proud to have met the effluent standards set by DENR.

Enjoining the jumpstart, Sugba Lagoon in the Municipality of Del Carmen, also in Siargao Island will also be launching their Eco-Sep this February 10, 2019.

Realizing the positive outcome, other hotels, beach resorts and LGUs in the island have inquired and expressed adopting Eco-Sep.

Dr. Enrico Paringit, Executive Director of DOST-PCIEERD, expressed assurance that such projects in the future will continually be supported.

“We will continue to provide solutions to societal problems through strategic research and development,” he said.

Dr. Paringit said that DOST-PCIEERD will take the lead in conducting collaborative efforts to maintain and protect the environment and the country’s ecotourism through science and technology interventions.