By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Customers of Manila Water Company, Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. have nothing to worry about their water supply possibly being contaminated by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to a top official from Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System’s (MWSS).
In a statement, MWSS Chief Regular Patrick Ty assured that the water currently being released by Manila Water and Maynilad is free from bacteria and virus such as the highly contagious COVID-19.
This is in response to public concern over the possible COVID-19 contamination of drinking water and wastewater within MWSS’ concession areas.
Ty said the water supply maintained in the agency’s distribution systems up to the customers' taps has been disinfected with chlorine, as prescribed by the Philippine National Standard for Drinking Water (PNSDW) set by the Department of Health (DOH).
“Our water is therefore free from bacteria and viruses, including the COVID-19 virus, and is safe for domestic consumption,” Ty said.
“MWSS-RO assures the public that it is continuously and rigorously monitoring the quality of our water and wastewater to protect the health and safety of its consumers, as well as the environment,” he added.
Right now, the wastewater being discharged from Maynilad and Manila Water’s sewage and septage treatment plants (STPS) into the receiving water bodies has also been disinfected with chlorine.
This is likewise in accordance with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2016-08 or the "Water Quality Guidelines and General Effluent Standards, Ty said.
In a technical brief on water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for the COVID-19 released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 19 March 2020, it was specified that chlorine disinfection should inactivate the virus.
Meanwhile, international non-government organization, Oceana, urged the DENR, the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to investigate the reported change in color of the surface of the historic Manila Bay last week.
“This development requires immediate study and continuous monitoring by experts on the water and its impact on the fisheries resources and marine environment of Manila Bay,” said Oceana Vice President Estenzo Ramos.