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After finally closing down the Inayawan landfill site and buckling down to actual garbage segregation last April 1, the Cebu City government now has another waste problem in its hands.

Inayawan landfill site head Randy Navarro said a large volume of leachate or wastewater produced from soiled garbage flowed out of the site and into the Mactan Channel, polluting the waters. Navarro said the leachate flowed out due to the spate of rains that hit Cebu City in recent weeks.

He said they're worried that the volume of wastewater would triple at the onset of the rainy season next month. The city government had yet to secure a water discharge permit from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR-7). The permit sets a ceiling on the amount of leachate the city government can safely discharge into the Mactan channel.

He said the Inayawan coast had already been affected by the wastewater. The 11.3-hectare Inayawan landfill used to receive 500 tons of garbage daily, beofre it was finally closed last April 1 to fasttrack the city government's waste segregation program.

Navarro said the biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the wastewater discharged by the landfill is measured at 5,000, way above the allowed 200 BOD ceiling. The DENR-7 gave Cebu City until last month to build a new water treatment facility or else be required to pay a P10,000 fine per day. But DENR extended the deadline to July this year.

Navarro said construction of a new water treatment facility may start next year at the earliest. Councilor Nida Cabrera, who heads the solid waste management committee, said the water treatment facility project had been bidded out.

The city government allocated P11 million under its P150 million calamity fund. Cabrera said the committee still has to verify if there is already a winning bidder. “We are fast tracking the construction because it is priority. We will try to start building the water treatment facility before this year ends,” Cabrera told Cebu Daily News.

She said they will also ask an extension from the DENR to secure a waste water discharge permit since they have yet to comply with some of its requirements. The city government was reminded thrice by the DENR about the construction of a wastewater treatment facility, the latest reminder issued last January.

Cabrera said the water septage problem had become a problem not just in Inayawan landfill but also in Cebu City. She had a pending water septage ordinance which aims to ensure proper waste water management through the regulation and management of the storage, collection and disposal of septage.

The ordinance requires the treatment of waste materials before these are discharged into septic tanks to avoid water contamination. The Metropolitan Cebu Water District(MCWD) presented their plan for a wastewater treatment plan to the Cebu City Council last Wednesday.

It plans to schedule septic tank de-sludging for its customers in the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay as well as the towns of Liloan, Consolacion, Cordova and Compostela. A wastewater treatment fee will be charged on the monthly bill of MCWD customers. MCWD said this will help ensure a clean environment by reducing illegal dumping of untreated septage.