DOST records more adopters of green wastewater technology in Davao

Published May 30, 2021, 6:00 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has cited the growing number of adopters of green wastewater technology in Davao.


DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said since 2016, the DOST XI has been promoting the deployment of Vertical Helophyte Filter System (VHFS) to aid the current sanitary status of waste water treatment in Davao region.

He said In 2020 alone, the DOST XI has installed five VHSFs in Davao City, Davao dell Norte and Davao Occidental.

“For 2021, DOST XI continues to expand the deployment of the VHFS through partnerships not just with MSMEs, but with LGUs as well (some under the Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) Program,” the DOST chief said in a report.

He described the VHFS as an improved form of a Vertical Flow Constructed Wetland which is a well-known tool for secondary wastewater treatment in remote areas in the Netherlands and other European countries.

“The low-cost, nature-based wastewater treatment system has shown its effectiveness over the globe and is seen as an effective and inexpensive small scale wastewater treatment system.”

De la Peña said three VHFS projects have been completed – SYNTEK Agri-Bio Corp, PUSHUP Tamugan / Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Environmental Management Bureau XI (DENR EMB XI), and local government units of Santo Tomas Municipal Abattoir in Davao del Norte.

He noted that 12 more projects are “on the proposal stage for this year.”

“Overall, a total of 22 projects have been completed under the VHFS,” he said.

De la Peña said with the deployment of VHFS in many local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Davao region, the system showed its effectiveness through laboratory analyses results for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), pH, coliform and fecal coliform removal from the wastewaters.

“The main characteristic of the VHFS is the application of Helophytes wherein common reeds, Phragmites australis or Phragmatis Karka (locally known as Tambo or Bugang) and para grasses, Brachiaria mutica or Urochloa mutica (locally known as Carabao grass), are used to naturally absorb pollutants from the wastewater,” he said.

“These plants are essential for the removal of phosphates, nitrates and surfactants and in creating an oxygen-rich environment due to the distribution of oxygen via the deep and hollow rhizomes of the Phragmatis australis plant. Natural aerobic treatment establishes inside the filter bed which enhances the water quality regarding BOD levels and ammoniacal-nitrogen content,” he added.