Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu led on January 22 the closure of a privately-owned slaughter house in San Juan City for dumping its untreated wastewater into San Juan River which drains to Manila Bay.
Padlocked was the Megga Foods and Stockfarm, Inc. (MFSI), a privately-owned abattoir that has been operating for over 30 years in Barangay Kabayanan.
Cimatu said the pollutive impacts of MFSI’s operations “equally poses direct harm to public health and the safety of residents within the area, and to efforts to rehabilitate Manila Bay.”
The closure was on the strength of a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) dated January 21, 2020 issued by the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB), an office of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) against MFSI after it was found to be violating Republic Act No. 9275 or the Clean Water Act of 2004.
The environment chief cited the cooperation of the San Juan City local government led by Mayor Francisco Javier “Francis” M. Zamora who was also with Cimatu during the operation.
“This again is proof that the political will of the national leadership to rehabilitate Manila Bay becomes more potent if the same political will is seen in our local executives like Mayor Zamora,” Cimatu said.
The local government of San Juan has earlier issued a closure order against the facility after it was found to have been operating without a water discharge and sanitary permits.
Results of an inspection of its wastewater conducted by EMB personnel showed the slaughterhouse failed multiple physical and chemical analyses, including tests for oil and grease, fecal coliform, and phosphate-phosphorous.
Test showed its effluent count for fecal coliform was 3,500,000 most probable number per 100 milliliter (MPN/100 ml) against the DENR standard of 400 MPN/100 ml. as per DENR Administrative Order (DAO) 2016-08 for Inland Water Class C category which San Juan River is classified.
Test further showed exceedance in standards for other parameters including: Biological Oxygen Demand at 558 milligram per liter (mg/l) against 50 mg/l standard; Total Suspended Solids at 340 mg/l versus 100 mg/l; Oil and Grease at 10.5 mg/l versus 5mg/l; and Phosphate-phosphorous at 12.49 mg/l versus 1 mg/l.
The CDO stated that the “MFSI used a bypass to discharge its untreated wastewater and is maintaining air pollution source installations without a valid Permit to Operate.”