All water sources in Puerto Princesa are now disinfected using ultraviolet technology as the city water district inaugurated its 30 million-liter-per-day capacity ultraviolet (UV) water disinfection facility in Barangay Iwahig.
According to General Manager Walter Laurel, the Puerto Princesa City Water District (PPCWD) is the first in the country to process all of its water sources through ultraviolet water disinfection. Traditionally, water is treated using chlorine, but Laurel stressed that this alters the water’s odor and taste.
This is the largest ultraviolet water disinfection facility in the city water district after the facility in Irawan source and major pumping stations. The facility is constructed inside the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF).
“Kauna-unahan tayo sa Pilipinas na lahat ng water sources ay ginagamitan ng UV. Mayroon din ibang water districts na unti-unti nang nagta-transition into UV. High tech ito, may computer na nagpapatakbo sa kaniya (We are the first in the Philippines to use UV in all water sources. There are also other water districts that are gradually transitioning into UV. It is high-tech; it has a computer that runs it),” he said.
An UV disinfection system is a technology that uses ultraviolet light to kill or inactivate bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms. The process involves exposing the microorganisms to UV light, which damages their DNA or RNA, preventing them from reproducing and causing infection.
The project cost almost P75 million from internal funds and will be reimbursed to the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) as part of their loan. The facility is under the Water System Improvement Project (WSIP) Phase II of PPCWD as a disinfection facility.
The remaining chlorination process undertaken by PPCWD is only for compliance purposes for chlorine residual under the Philippine National Standard for Drinking Water of 2017 version. Water districts are required to have .2 parts per million (ppm) to .5 ppm of chlorine for every million liters of water.
“Kailangan pa rin namin mag-dose ng chlorine para meron tayong residual, pero yong ating UV Disinfection very much enough para matanggal lahat ng pathogens sa tubig natin (We still need to dose chlorine to have a residual, but our UV Disinfection is very much enough to remove all pathogens in our water),” he said.
Engr. Cesar Gavilan of the PPCWD explained that the facility is also the water district’s compliance to have multiple barriers in disinfection.
It is the largest treatment facility of PPCWD that will disinfect the water coming from the Montible and Lapu-Lapu rivers.
“Pangatlo na ito sa malaki namin project. Nauna na ang Irawan, major pumps ay meron na UV. We are sure na may integrity yong aming maibibigay na malinis na tubig sa buong Puerto Princesa (This is the third large-scale project for us. The Irawan and major pumps already have UV. We are sure that the clean water we provide to the entire Puerto Princesa has integrity),” he said.
Director General Gregorio Catapang, Jr., of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), commits to reforestation to protect the water sources located inside the premises of IPPF.
He said that there is a need for carbon trading, which is a system that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change by placing a price on carbon emissions.
“This is 28,000 hectares, and I am so happy na ang balita pala ay kami ang nagbibigay ng tubig sa inyo (This is 28,000 hectares, and I am so happy that the news is we are the ones providing you water), but we will make sure that mountain will not run out of water. We will have to do reforestation, carbon trading,” he said.