Source: Palawan News (www.palawan-news.com)
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to charge the management of a beach hostel in El Nido after the discovery of its “illegally installed” polymerizing vinyl chloride (PVC) pipeline within the easement zone over the weekend.
A statement sent to Palawan News Tuesday by the DENR MIMAROPA Region said the PVC pipeline was excavated from the beachfront of Outpost Beach Hostel in Barangay Corong-Corong through the use of the ground penetrating radar (GPR) by a survey team of the regional and central offices of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
“The pipeline measuring six inches in diameter and six meters in length was uncovered in front of Outpost Beach Hostel in Corong-Corong. It was also found discharging black and foul-smelling liquid directly into Bacuit Bay, one of the province’s ecotourism sites undergoing massive rehabilitation,” the statement said.
The DENR MIMAROPA said to confirm the source of the wastewater, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) used a green tracer solution into Outpost Beach Hostel’s last chamber to which the excavated pipe was connected.
The DENR regional and central offices survey team is seen in this photo using the ground penetrating radar (GPR) to detect the presence of the illegally installed sewerage pipe in front of the Outpost Beach Hostel in Corong-Corong, El Nido. (Photo courtesy of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau)
“After almost 20 minutes, the green solution drained into the said pipe, indicating that the said establishment was the one discharging wastewater from the tank. The EMB shall be conducting further investigation to determine if there are other sources of wastewater discharge aside from the hostel,” it pointed out.
Paul Sepulveda, one of the co-owners of Outpost Beach Hostel, reportedly admitted that they owned the pipe.
Nevertheless, the statement said DENR MIMAROPA regional executive director Henry Adornado ordered the immediate removal of the sewage line as it violates the provisions of Presidential Decree 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines, which prohibits structures within the easement zones without permission from the government.
Meanwhile, the excavation site was filled with sand using the backhoe sent by the local government of El Nido. The end of the cut pipe was left open for sampling and analysis by the EMB.
“We have to remind everyone that we are preparing Bacuit Bay as Water Quality Management Area so we shall be conducting regular water sampling and analysis not only to Outpost Beach Hostel but also to other establishments to ensure they do not discharge untreated wastewater into Bacuit Bay,” EMB Regional Director Michael Drake Matias said.
Besides regular effluent sampling, the DENR and the MGB have been conducting a GPR survey of the coastal areas of El Nido since March 18 to detect buried waste pipelines. They are calling business establishments to take Outpost Beach Hostel as an example to avoid interruption in their business operations.
“You cannot hide them (pipes) forever. We will eventually uncover them so we advise you to remove your illegal sewage lines and comply with the laws for your own good,” MGB MIMAROPA regional director Roland De Jesus was also quoted in the statement.
The DENR, EMB, and MGB in MIMAROPA vowed to impose the maximum penalty to any establishments found continuously breaking environmental rules and regulations; and employ unified action to ensure environmental protection remains as a top priority.