Government clears city for Sanitary Landfill

DUMAGUETE CITY – The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 7 has released an assessment report of the proposed sanitary landfill in Dumaguete that dispels misinformation about its negative effects to the residents of two barangays namely Candau-ay and Camanjac.

During the flag raising ceremony, Mayor Felipe Remollo reported that the site assessment of EMB-7 regional director Engr. William Cunado has allayed fears of residents in the surrounding areas about the dangers it poses to their health, lives, and properties.

In the report, the proposed sanitary landfill site in Candau-ay has complied seven out of 13 parameters which is  more than enough reason to proceed with the project with only six as the minimum requirement, while the remaining six other parameters will have to wait for an assessment from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).  Remollo said that even without the results of the six other parameters, the city proposed site has already passed the requirements with flying colors.

The first requirement that states that the proposed site has no confined aquifers such as deep wells within one kilometer of the site and that the facility shall be a minimum 50 meters away from any potential stream, lake, or river has been duly complied.  The proposed sanitary landfill site is situated approximately 215 meters away from the nearest surface of water which is the Okoy river-Malaunay spillway downstream classified as Class B.  During field investigation, it was also noted that the nearest water supply is located in barangay Camanjac which is more than one kilometer away from the site.

The SLF also passed the topography, terrain, slope, and distance requirements and that surrounding lots have been classified as small and medium scale industrial.

Remollo had earlier belied reports the 32 households of Bloomington housing community is so close to the proposed site. The mayor said a 1.5 hectare lot owned by the Little Children of the Philippines that is planted with trees is situated nearby, a portion of which is used by homeowners to breed pigs. Adjacent to it is another one-hectare dry river bed that can be planted with bamboo trees as additional buffer.

The EMB team received a letter from the Orphanage-Batang Calabnugan Inc, represented by Flora Aguit expressing their opposition but the same is situated more than 700 meters away from the site while the requirement is 250 meters from existing or proposed residential, commercial or urban development areas.

It also met the requirement that the site shall not be located within 500 meters of the boundaries of ecologically sensitive areas proclaimed as protected areas under the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) because Tañon Strait is located 10 kilometers away from the proposed site.

The site is consistent with the current land use classification plan and is not located within three kilometers of the airport.  The site is about five kilometers from the airport in Sibulan.

Other requirements include a life span for the landfill to accommodate waste for a period of five years with a provision for expansion.  Based on a 3-hectare area, the proposed site is capable of accommodating garbage for five years as long as its landfill engineering design will cater more than five years of municipal waste.  The city government says its lifespan can be extended through proper waste management practices like segregation at source, waste diversion, and recycling among others.

Finally, it has also complied with the haul distance, accessibility, and road conditions.

The six other parameters that have to wait for an MGB report include local geological conditions such as underlying rock formations, to determine if a seismic condition is present in the area, soil properties and availability of cover materials, and vulnerability to flooding which is one of the contentions of those who oppose the project.

Other recommendations include the submission of a safe closure and rehabilitation plan for the existing open dumpsite which must also meet with the requirements. Prior to the operation of the landfill, the city must apply for an Environmental Compliance Certificate to comply with provisions of PD 1586 and Section 38 of RA 9003.  The assessment report was signed by Engr. Anecita Q. Dinoy, Chief, EMED division and John Roy Kyamko, SWM Regional Coordinator. Remollo considered the favorable assessment a belated Christmas gift to the city.