Clark Water’s treatment plant faces closure

Published November 1, 2021, 10:38 AM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The wastewater treatment plant of Clark Water Corporation (CWC), a subsidiary of Manila Water Company, Inc., is facing closure after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) threatened to not renew the company’s Temporary Discharge Permit (TDP).

In a statement, Clark Development Corporation (CDC), the government arm tasked to develop the Clark Zone, revealed that CWC received a warning from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) that its TDP, which expired on October 30, 2021, may not be renewed.

EMB Region 3 Director Wilson Trajeco, in a letter dated October 25, 2021 addressed to CWC and a copy furnished to CDC and Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA), said the TDP will only be renewed if CWC continues to work on their present project site to meet effluent criteria.

Photo from Clark Water Corp.

EMB, headed by Trajeco, has also threatened to issue a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) to CWC for the second time this year.

The General Effluent Standards require each locator to dispose of their effluent to meet the guidelines, if not, each locator may face possible fines and penalties. Because no company in Clark is capable of managing its own wastewater, they will all be forced to close if the problem is not resolved by October 30.

CDC said the possible closure of CWC’s wastewater treatment plant is now raising concerns among locators inside the Freeport.

CDC President and CEO Manuel Gaerlan said that they will employ all available methods, including legal action and appeals to other government bodies linked to EMB, to ensure that the locators will not confront the problem of no wastewater treatment in the Freeport.

For her part, CILA President Jeannie Ng said the persistent threat of EMB in closing the facility is causing undue anxiety to business owners inside the Freeport.

“This is the second time this year that the EMB has threatened to issue a CDO to CWC. This constant threat does not help in boosting investor confidence and in maintaining a business-friendly regulatory environment in the zone,” Ng said.

“If CWC says they have passed the water sampling of discharged water done by EMB, why are they being threatened with another CDO and non-renewal of discharge permit? Shouldn’t the discharge permit be based on passing the discharge or effluent standards only and not on any building plan?” she added.

For his part, CILA Chairman Ireneo “Bong” Alvaro, asked the EMB to address the matter quickly, while he thanked CDC for supporting the locators’ demand for affordable and safe water.

Last October 28, the CDC, CILA, and CWC convened in an emergency meeting to discuss the impending crisis and devise a strategy in dealing with various scenarios.

CWC assured CILA and CDC during the meeting that they would meet CDC’s building permission standards and secure an extension of the TDP to avoid an emergency.

Christina Cruz, CWC’s General Manager, already vowed “to do everything possible” to meet EMB’s extension requirements.

 
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