You are on page 1of 25

A Paper On


Sitio Mahayahay, Barangay Bagacay, Alabel
Sarangani Province

Submitted To



October 24, 2015

Table of Contents

SEPTAGE CONDITION IN THE PHILIPPINES........................................4
ALABEL AS MUNICIPALITY.................................................................6
Description of the Project.....................................................................9
I. ALABEL SEPTAGE AND TREATMENT FACILITY.................................12
CONLUSION: Bain work: Discourse........................................................22

Everyone has the responsibility to take care of the environment
considering that climate change is apparent and imminent. Danger to our flora
and fauna are at stake, the marine protected area, marine sanctuaries, coastal
resources and marine ecosystems; even the natural forces of the earth that life
and safety of human beings are in paramount consideration. This is due to the
ballooning of human population that demands food for subsistence that leads to
urbanization and settlements.
The study of physical science is imperative. This will enhance on how we
manage our environment especially for the protection of the life and the health
condition of the people based on the water that we intake and the food that we
eat. Constitutionally, the right of the people to abode in a community is highly
respected. However, this right is always entwined with sense of responsibility in
all aspects in life particularly in terms of health and sanitation.

As managers or persons who are responsible to take care of the
environment we should necessarily be exposed to different avenue that can
increase our knowledge and experience. Inputs of this learning will basically give
us an idea of what are some of the projects that we may articulate and possibly
put up through a project to the community, locality where we share our expertise
and knowledge. This exposure would possibly replicate, if not, educate the
members of the community regarding the proper and correct establishment of
septage tank, the standard septage so to speak, in every household. This is
particularly, on how to implement and manage a septage facility in a community
as a means to secure the health of the general public in terms of sanitation. This
learning exposure is taken in a Septage Treatment Facility (STF) that is located

in Sitio Mahayahay, Barangay Bagacay, Alabel, Sarangani Province. This was

held on September 4, 2015.


It is important to understand the word septage. Septage refers to sludge
which is a term used in some countries to describe the partially treated sludge
stored in a septic tank. It is one type of fecal sludge. Septage is a by-product
from the pretreatment of household wastewater in a septic tank where it
accumulates over time.
Septage is highly variable and organic, with significant levels of grease,
grit, hair, and debris. The liquids and solids pumped from a septic tank or
cesspool have an offensive odor and appearance, a tendency to foam upon
agitation, and a resistance to settling and dewatering. Septage is also a host for
many disease-causing viruses, bacteria, and parasites. As a result, septage
requires special handling and treatment. However, the polymers and chemical
conditioners available today have considerably reduced these requirements.
Before proceeding to the STF in Alabel, it is better to take a look into the
brief condition of septage in our country.
According to the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) million people lack
access to improved sanitation, with more than 100 million practicing open
defecation all around the world.
The Philippines has invested very little in proper sewage collection and
treatment. More than 20 million Filipinos do not have access to proper sanitation,
and about 7 million practice open defecation. The WSP Sustainable Sanitation
for East Asia study (SuSEA 2008) reported that the design of most septic tanks
does not conform to the standards prescribed by the Department of Health
(DoH). Many who have toilets do not have septic tanks; many septic tanks have
open bottoms; most septic tanks are not regularly desludged; and the septage

removed is not treated and disposed of properly. Less than 10% of the population
has access to piped sewerage systems. Septic tank management, especially
desludging, also requires improvement.
That there is economic losses due to poor sanitation exceed P78 billion
per year (World Bank and USAID, 2007). Accordingly, Septage management
(emptying septic tanks) is only in Metro Manila, Dumaguete and Alabel
The sewerage coverage in Metro Manila is 15%, in national less than 4%
in Dhaka 30%, Phnom Penh 50% and some other developing countries.
Sad to note that there are more than 11,338 Filipinos who die yearly from
diarrhea, and about 55 daily from all water-borne diseases due to poor septage
and proper sanitation. Furthermore, up to 58% of groundwater contaminated,
64% of rivers fail test for Class A waters (swimming).
The Philippine government through the NSSMP finds the need for action in
order to improve sanitation as a key to achieve successful management in local
governance through its direct beneficiaries who mostly belong to the lower class
Filipino people.
There are constraints that need to be overcome. Probably, some strategies
that have to be applied in order to meet the target as duly desired by the
Philippine government. Some of these constraints are the following:

Low level of awareness and demand from public

Low capacity to develop projects

Weak enforcement of existing regulations

Limited resources of LGUs and water districts

No national program or budget.

Nonetheless, these are the challenges that our government particularly local
government through our local officials to address weakness stated in the above.
Perhaps, there is a need for a leader from the LGU level who will sponsor or
push through with the program. Indeed, it is of necessity to have one in a big
community. The fact that there is a threat on environmental degradation that
comes from the increase human settlements.

The unwelcome effects of

domestic and human waste on water quality and inevitably on marine and human
lives have become apparent and alarming.
Furthermore, as per record, the Municipality of Alabel is able to reach the
successful implementation and management of Septage Treatment Facility in the
country. Let us take a look the brief profile of Municipality of Alabel.



first class municipality and also the capital of the





According to the 2010 census, it has a population


75,477 people. As of 2010, it has a total

voting population of 41,279 voters.





XII SOCCSKSARGEN which belongs to the

group of islands. The municipality Alabel is seated



Philippine main capital Manila.

Alabel is a 1st class Municipality. Regarding urbanization Alabel is
classified as partly urban. Alabel occupies an area of 510.98 km. By the end of
2007 Alabel was the home of 71,872 residents. Thus by average 140.66 people
are living on one km.

Administratively the Municipality of Alabel is subdivided into 12 barangays.

One forms the center of the city whereas the other 11 are in the outlying areas.
Some of them are even several kilometers away from the center of the
Municipality. The most populous are Paraiso, Bagacay, Tokawal, Spring,
Baluntay, Domolok, Maribulan, Kawas, Datal Anggas, Alegria, Pag-Asa,
Poblacion (Alabel).
Among the bigger cities and municipalities in the neighborhood of Alabel
there are General Santos City (Dadiangas) (South Cotabato) 12 km west-northwest, Malita (Davao Del Sur) 40 km north-east, Polomolok (South Cotabato) 28
km west-north-west, Sultan Kudarat (Nuling) (Maguindanao) 88 km west-northwest, City Of Digos (Davao Del Sur) 75 km north, City Of Koronadal (South
Cotabato) 66 km north-west, Isulan (Sultan Kudarat) 96 km north-west, City Of
Tacurong (Sultan Kudarat) 95 km north-west, Glan 31 km south-south-west as
well as 28 km north of Alabel the municipality Malungon.
To travel from Davao City to the Municipality of Alabel using private vehicle
takes less than three (3) hours. The distance is 159 kilometers. During the said
travel guide questions were given by our Professor for our intellectual
consumption and for our academic assignment.
Guide Question:
Below are the given guide questions:
1. Discuss how the waste water and septage treatment operates; and
2. Discuss how it is being managed.
The whole class of GM 206 Intro to Physical Science arrived in the Municipal
Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO). The MENRO Engr. Allan
V. Rivera is the brains behind the successful implementation and management of
Alabel STF, of course, not to discount the wisdom and noble effort, work and
support of the Executive and Legislative branches of the local government of the

Municipality of Alabel. Engr. Rivera threw his kindness to the group by giving
lecture on how the STF was born and the tedious process they went through in
order to secure the approval of the local executives including its legislators and
significant endorsement of Hon. Manuel Pacquiao as Representative of
Congress that has territorial jurisdiction over the Municipality of Alabel.

Picture 1. Taken during planning for STF

The nitty-gritty of the project has been thoroughly and intensively discussed
with the heads of local offices and national government agencies in Alabel.
Accordingly, the caucus or initial discussion has been emboldened after the
declaration of financial support through a loan or funding that came from Japan
Bank for International Cooperation (JICA). Thus, Alabel is a Recipient of Php
63.7-Million STF grant Project from DENR under Southern Mindanao Integrated
Coastal Zone Management Project (SMICZMP).
As per original plan, the project was intended to be established in General
Santos City. However, due to some circumstances, the STF project was
transferred and/or distributed among five (5) other coastal towns of Sarangani
province as a GRANT from the DENR.

Picture 2. Different STF Sites

Description of the Project

Based on the power point presentation of Engr. Allan Rivera, the STF
project provides specific benefit to the environment based on the natural
resources found in Alabel, the legal framework that governs the project, as well
as it describes the capacity of the project on the following:
1. The Alabel Septage Treatment Facility, with Design Capacity of 60-cu.m per
day (optimal capacity is 84-cu.m/day), is the LARGEST of the six (6) that were
constructed along Sarangani Bay, including one in Malalag Bay, by the Southern
Mindanao Integrated Coastal Management Project (SMICZMP) of the DENR;
2. Alabel STF adopts a Pond Stabilization and a Natural system a type of
wastewater treatment system in which the process of biological degradation of

organic compounds is not aided by the input of significant amounts of energy or

chemicals. STF is designed to ONLY to accept and treat wastewater which are
domestic in nature;
3. Stabilization pond system a man-made pond system in which wastewater is
allowed to stand for a time, under the influence of microorganisms and the forces
of nature, so that it is converted to effluent that meets the quality standards
established for final disposal and reuse;
4. The noble objectives of the project are the following:
a. Reduction of water pollution in Sarangani Bay;
b. Protection and conservation of coastal and marine habitats and resources
such as mangrove, coral reefs, seagrass, reef fishes, crustaceans,
dugongs, etc.
c. Improvement of health and sanitation condition (reduce health riskscontact with sewage);
d. Compliance with National Standards and Regulation such as the following:

Republic Act 7586 (National Integrated Protected Area System Act of


Presidential Decree No. 856 (Code on Sanitation of the Philippines)

Presidential Decree No. 1152 (The Philippine Environment Code)

DENR Administrative Order 35, Series of 1990 (Effluent Standards)

Republic Act 9275 (Clean Water Act of 2004)-mandates LGUs to share

responsibility to ensure water quality management (safe water supply)
within territorial jurisdiction.

As we learned from the power point presentation of Engr Rivera, below is

the standard septic tank (Illustration 1) that we could possibly recommend for a
sanitation project to the community where we managed. This proposed project
that we will adapt is considered as the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of
the company where we worked. Believing that in our area of responsibility, there

are many households that do not have adequate/proper septic tank. Our
exposure will help to educate the Indigenous Peoples where our mining
tenement is situated.

Illustration 1.

After a very informative lecture of Engr. Rivera, the students of GM 206

proceeded to Sitio Mahayahay, Barangay Bagacay, Alabel where the STF is
located. As observed, it is a vast track of land that is needed in order to
implement the project perfectly. The size of the area matters for the said project.
Approaching and getting nearer to the STF area, I was expecting foul order upon
arrival in the area, we did not smell anything. Prior to our arrival, my thoughts
were playing as I might see human waste floating in a big swimming pool and as
a wind dances, the smell of human waste will also move where the wind blows.


Gladly, such imagination is very far from its reality and as what I have
seen in the STF of Alabel. It indeed impressed me and these are what I have
In the Alabel Septage Treatment Facility, the waste are then poured into
the sedimentation pond. The picture below (Table 1.3), shows the different
treatment ponds of the Alabel Septage Treatment Facility. There are 3
sedimentation ponds, 2 anaerobic ponds, 2 facultative ponds, 1 maturation pond
and 1 constructed wetland pond.

Picture 3.

The first pond is a 3.5-m deep sedimentation pond where solids will be
allowed to settle. The supernatant or the liquid fraction will flow to the anaerobic

pond. After some time, no flow will be made to the sedimentation pond, and the
solids will thicken to a dry state, or a so-called cake, which can be removed
manually by shovel and cart or by small loaders or bobcats, if available.
The second pond, the anaerobic pond, has a depth of 5.0 meters. Here,
organic matter is anaerobically degraded. In this pond, BOD removal from 50%
to 70% can be expected.
From the anaerobic pond, septage will flow to the facultative pond,
(Picture 4. Zoom view) which is relatively shallow at 2.5 meters. At this pond,
algae, in the presence of sunlight, and surface wind will provide the oxygen
necessary for microorganisms to degrade the septage. At the bottom of the
facultative pond, anaerobic conditions will prevail and the remaining settled solids



anaerobic digestion.



the maturation pond, is

a shallow pond where
most of the pathogenic
microorganisms are destroyed by sunlight.
At the end of this series of ponds, water shall pass through a constructed
wetland, further improving effluent quality to levels exceeding the DENR Class A
effluent standards. In a constructed wetland, septage will move slowly through a
shallow bed of sandy/gravelly material, which is planted with water tolerant plants
such as cattails and reeds. The constructed wetland is a very efficient system for
polishing treated septage.

This is one of the anaerobic pond

and there are human wastes floating on
it. What was also surprising
is that I was expecting a lot of flies to be
swarming around the area, but there are
none. MENRO Rivera explained that
human waste after it is exposed to the elements actually do not emit any foul
smell. The human waste freshly defecated is the one that smells.

Alabel Septage Treatment Facility was created. The Table 1. shows Biochemical
Oxygen Demand (BOD), or the amount of oxygen microorganisms must
consume in order to oxidize all the organic compounds in a liter of wastewater.
The study likewise revealed that the BOD Load Distribution is 3.4 million
As shown in the table, the biggest per centage of BOD load distribution
comes from the domestic or the households with 67% followed by the Agricultural
at 31%,

Table 1.

Hence, by addressing the septage waterwaste of the household, it would

solve more than half of the BOD Load Distribution.

Illustration 2. Boad Load Distribution

The Alabel Septage Treatment Facility was basically created as an answer

to the huge BOD Load distribution. However, the Alabel STF is so large that it
has the Design Capacity of 60-cu.m per day (optimal capacity is 84-cu.m/day),
As per inventory made by the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources
Officer (MENRO) in November 2007 there are only 2,252 DST in Alabel as
reflected in Table 2. The estimate is that the STF can service the existing 2,252
DST in three months or less. Even at a more conservative assumption of 6 septic
tanks being desludged daily, using only one truck will require 375 days to service
all DST in Alabel (2250/6).

Table 2.


It is known that Alabel is rich in tourist attractions. The serene beaches
there are described as paradise. The calm and blue pristine waters that gently
touches its shores is one of the main attractions in the place. Foreigners and
locale alike considered Alabel a place of recreation and relaxation.


bonding and fellowship is made perfect by the place.

Picture 6.

Indeed, tourism is one of the bigger source of revenue in the locality. The
marine resources are the basic livelihood in Alabel. Fisher folks are dependent
upon the water resource provided by God to people in Sarangani. There is a high
call to stewardship. Therefore, there is a need to protect and preserve the area
It is the sanctuary of the marine resources. Thus, the Alabel local government
crafted a Coastal Zone Ordinance. This ordinance allows only traditional fishing
and bangus fry gathering. It does not allow commercial fishing vessels to anchor
on the cost. The ordinance also regulates floating beach, fish cage, seaweed
culture, fish pens and use of nets.
Pictures 7 & 8

According to Engr. Rivera, noble intention for the construction of STFs is to

protect the coastal waters of Sarangani from pollution, particularly from domestic
sewage by processing septic tank contents before wastewater drains to the bay.
Specially, that Sarangani Bay is declared Protected Seascape Thru PP #756
during the time of former Pres. Fidel Ramos due to its economic and ecological
significance not just in the Province but in the entire SOCSKSARGEN area:

Plays an important role in the economic growth of the SOCSKSARGEN

Area where most industries are located along Sarangani Bay.

Major fishing ground of about 50,000 fishers in the area.

Ecologically important as breeding, spawning and feeding grounds of

many commercially important fish species in the area.

Tourism (recreation & diving sites).

This processing of wastes at the STF REDUCES the public risk from
pathogens and nutrient contamination of ground and water resources. Thus, it
will gear up to the protection of the fish as number one source of food of the
people and the natural water resources as attractive tourism in Alabel.
Accordingly, attaining its objectives will not only facilitate compliance with
various environmental laws (Clean Water Act of 2004) but will also exemplify
However, as admitted by the MENRO, Alabels STF is a large facility with
a big responsibility. If it would only be limited to servicing the deludgeable septic
tanks within Alabel, then it would result to the facility being idle for most of the
time and its continued existence will be a financial liability for the LGU unless. In
fact the Alabel STF has 2-units Vacuum Trucks with a capacity of 5-cu.m and can
take a maximum of 5 to 6-trips per day. It also has 1 unit Bobcat Truck Loader.
These trucks are responsible for desludging household septic tanks and bringing
them to the STF. The MENROffice hired drivers for the trucks and these truck

drivers are also designated to disludge the septic tanks within Alabel. They also
have two (2) security guards assigned in the STF in Sitio Mahayahay with two (2)
other assistants. They are six (6) in all performing the activity with such huge or
large capacity of STF. These workingmen were equipped to faithfully performing
their daily operational duties and responsibilities definitely because their leader
as head of the team (Engr. Rivera) is ordained by God to share his talent of good
leadership brains, courage and strength to perform his job and to take the
challenge as Manager.

Fact that the Alabel STF has big capacity to disludge human waste, since
its creation and the facility being idle for most of the time and its continued
existence will be a financial liability for the LGU unless the following shall be
seriously taken into consideration not only the local government leaders of Alabel
but most importantly its constituents. Thus:

a) More of the other Alabel households (about 10,000) construct properly

designed/built toilets and septic tanks and have them desludged every
three years;
The STF does not have sufficient source of household waste to fully make
it operational. Maybe, because some of the households lack of awareness or
perhaps because of the culture of the Filipinos that they will be cautious and
aware of it IF there is an imminent and foreseen immediate danger as to health
and safety of their loved ones or themselves.
Nonetheless, the huge capacity of the facility at 60-cu.m per day (optimal
capacity is 84-cu.m/day) has never been reached. According to MENRO Rivera,
even if it rained the whole night and even during the incidences of tropical
depression that brings huge amount of rain, the same has not even filled up half
of the pond, hence the flow of the septage has not even reached the third pond

(the facultative ponds).

The government of Alabel through the MENRO will not be discouraged

and I commend their continuous conduct of Information Education Campaign
(IEC) to the 10,000 households of Alabel, to the business establishments, to the
migrants with intention to establish permanent settlement in the area, etc relative
to the importance of health sanitation vis-a vis protection to the environment.
The Alabel Septage Management Ordinance 2008-048 has made
mandatory the establishment of correctly-built septic tanks, the mandatory septic
tank desludging every 3 years, and the incorporation of the said provisions during
renewal and application of business permits. All Alabel households regularly pay
the desludging fee prescribed by the towns STF ordinance. At the same time,
this can help to augrment the income of the municipality.

b. Alabel extends the STF service to its big neighbor, the city of
General Santos and possibly, even Polomolok, north of General Santos
As discussed earlier, this project was originally intended for General
Santos City, but the STF projects were transferred/distributed among six (6) other
coastal towns of Sarangani province as a GRANT from the DENR. General
Santos City definitely hosts a bigger population in terms of household as well as
industrial and commercial establishments, plus the government offices including
NGAs and GSC-based desludgers.

The table above shows General Santos City is 15x larger than Alabel with
household deslugeable septic tanks estimated at 34,187 compared to the 2,252
of Alabel. A larger market exists in neighbor General Santos City. The latter is
almost 10 times larger than Alabels in terms of number of households (2009Alabel: 11,625; General Santos: approximately 94,950.
The MENRO and staff had a discussion with General Santos City and








acceptable/attractive price which eventually graduated into a MOA signing.

Furthermore, the GSC coordinated with other government agencies and STbuilders to enlarge the supply base.
c. Encouraging private desludgers
Another way of ensuring that there would be sufficient household wastes
collected, the Alabel STF also allows and even encourages private desludgers
from undertaking the desluding activities. This would allow those with sufficient
capital to purchase vacuum trucks to engage in desludging business. This is also
one way of creating job opportunities for others. A tipping fee (treatment cost) of
P 250.00/m3 shall be imposed on private desludgers/septage haulers who will
use the STF.
d. Develop a marketing plan to make the facility financially viable and
The team of Alabel STF have exerted efforts to market their product.
However, septage management, there is no tangible products that can be easily

seen or noticed by the people. Alabel STF have intangible products to market
and this makes it doubly hard to influence the people unless there is a change in
social behavior/attitudes, unless the people can imbibed and advocate that the
long term result of the STF is the protection of the Sarangani Bay Protected
Seascape, the environmental protection and improved sanitary practices of the
people. The people have to fully realize that protecting the Sarangani Bay which
is one source of livelihood and income for the vast majority of people cannot
happen without sustaining the STFs operation and steady revenue.
The Alabel IEC-Team developed a communication and marketing plan.
The marketing plan spelled out possible approaches and strategies to make
Alabels STF a fully operational and VIABLE INVESTMENT for the benefit of the
environment and the people.

Included in the plan are the BEHAVIORAL

OBJECTIVES and CORE MESSAGES for each type of intended Publics and
the recommended media processes (Radio Messages, TV advertisements,
Billboards, Tarpaulins, Leaflets and Flyers/Brochures, Roadshows, recoridas,and
other related promotional activities)

CONLUSION: Bain work: Discourse

In view of the above foregoing, the size of the Alabel STF will fit to the size
and population of Davao City. It is sad to note and I even got envy during the
exposure and I even asked why is it that Davao City has no septage facility like in
Alabel. Considering the population of Davao City at present with high end
subdivisions for the elite, numbered middle class subdivisions and various low
cost housing that sets in the City. The unstoppable booming of the City by the
construction of different buildings, malls and offices is a must call to put up a
septage facility like in Alabel.
To figure out statistically, based on the 2010 Census of Population and
Housing (CPH), Davao City, a highly urbanized city in the province of Davao del

Sur, posted a total population of 1,449,296 persons as of May 1, 2010. This is

larger by 302,180 persons compared to its total population of 1,147,116 persons
counted in the 2000 CPH. The increase in the population count from 2000 to
2010 translated to an average annual population growth rate (PGR) of 2.36
percent. This is lower than the 3.04 percent annual PGR of the city between the
census years 1990 and 2000.
If the average annual PGR recorded at 2.36 percent during the period
2000 to 2010 continues, the population of Davao City would double in 30 years.
The Population of Davao City most likely will increase at the rate of 2.36 percent
annually. Davao City has vast rack of land where it can cater the demand of such
kind of facility.
The political leaders and local legislators in Dava City should consider this
project seriously. In fact, according to the Philippine Water Act (CWA) of 2004 is a
landmark piece of legislation that mandate the preparation of National Sewerage
and Septage Management Program (NSSMP) and requires highly urbanized
cities (HUCs) to provide sewerage and septage services to minimize the adverse
impacts of domestic wastewater discharges on water quality and water resources
in general. At the same time, responsible to address various issues on sanitation
and treatment and disposal of wastewater in the country. Its goal is to improve
water quality and protect public health in urban areas of the Philippines by 2020.
In this mandate, it is a challenge to our political leaders to set their agenda
this coming 2016 elections and this agenda will not limit only to secure peace
and order situation of the Davao City but also they will include the establishment
of septage facility for the health protection, safety, of Davaoeos as well as to
ensure the protection marine-life sanctuaries in nearby sea, to maintain the
balance of marine ecology, all other important marine resources as a means of
livelihood and food for the people and the water resources in general.