EMB soon to release assessment on water discoloration
By Dominique Gabriel Bañaga
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Western Visayas has stepped in to investigate the alleged environmental violations of bioethanol producer San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. (SCBI) in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.
A team led by Engineer Paul Wellen Orosio from the DENR Region 6’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) started gathering water samples from the city’s ponds, creeks, coastline, and the Tañon Strait.
Orosio was accompanied by the City Environment Management Office (CEMO). They also gathered samples of the waste water being released by the bio-ethanol plant.
According to Orosio, it was San Carlos City’s Mayor Renato Gustilo who personally asked the DENR to probe reports that the plant was releasing waste off the Tañon Strait.
The EMB is expected to release an initial assessment based on the field inspection they carried out yesterday. It will also analyze the water samples they have gathered in order to identify where discoloration of the waters in the area originated.
The SCBI is expected to stop operations today after being allowed two days to process the remaining sugarcane they have in stock at the plant.
Gustilo earlier denied the request of SCBI to resume into full operations, until they have drained their pond of spent wash to prevent overflows, and to put into place several improvements to prevent the recurring problem of waste water pollution.
The SCBI started operation in 2008. It’s the first regenerative combined cycle power plant in Asia using sugar cane that produces 42 million liters of bio-ethanol per annum and eight megawatts of electricity from sugar cane.
Gustilo blamed the plant’s industrial discharges for the discoloration of water in the coastal area of Sitio Maloloy-on, Barangay Punao./DGB, WDJ