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River clean up using plants as filters to begin in 3Q 2018

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By Yas Ocampo

DAVAO CITY –– The Department of Science and Technology will roll out this quarter its plan of using natural plants to help clean up a critical portion of the Davao River.

The project aims to use vertical helophyte plants to help filter the polluted waters.

Davao River (photo courtesy of Make It Davao) MANILA BULLETIN

Davao River (photo courtesy of Make It Davao) MANILA BULLETIN

Regional Director Anthony Sales said in a statement sent to Manila Bulletin that the sani-embankment project will be rolled out in Barangay 76A (Bucana).

The project is in coordination with the Dutch government and private entities with the objective of establishing a cleaner way of discharging wastewater in Davao City and developing a flood prevention technology.

The project is designed to treat the wastewater coming from estimated 3,500 residents who produce waste load of approximately 420,000 liters. The project will use locally sourced materials and technology. To efficiently treat wastewater, a helophyte filter will be used which composed of a sand filter planted with common reeds. The treatment of the water is done by bacteria living in the roots. The filter is 10 times less expensive than any other small-scale wastewater treatment system. Moreover, it can treat half a million liters of wastewater and can last for 20 to 25 years.

Houses must be attached to a provided wastewater well; wastewater will be separated from the rainwater. This creates a simplified sewage system which utilizes the existing channels provided by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
HELP Davao Network will provide technical and infrastructure support and area preparation.

DOST Region XI, as monitoring institution, will supervise the project implementation and compliance of the work plan. Sanifyt will serve as the developer of the technology and administer the project funds in accordance with the work plan and timetable. The project is targeted to begin on the third quarter of 2018.

The Davao River basin is the third largest river catchment in Mindanao and is the largest of Davao City’s nine principal watersheds, namely Lasang, Bunawan, Panacan, Matina, Davao, Talomo, Lipadas, and portions of Inawayan and Sibulan. Unfortunately, Davao River is also exposed to pressures due to poor wastewater treatment system of residences and business establishments along the river banks.

According to HELP Davao Network, research shows there is an alarming number of Davao riverbank illegal settlements without primary wastewater treatment, discharging waste directly on the surface water.

To address this gap, the Sani-Embankment project is developed to introduce a low-cost, nature-based solution, thus improving wastewater management in Davao River, the DOST said.

The project had been endorsed to the city government, through the city council and the City Planning and Development Office as early as last year.

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