March 9, 2023
On February 27, 2023, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a grant agreement with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines in Manila, to provide grant aid of approximately 2-billion Japanese Yen for the "Project for the Septage Management of Metro Cebu Water District".
Metropolitan Cebu is leading the way in improving septage management using this grant. This is in line with the region's Mega Cebu Roadmap 2050 which targets to adequately treat wastewater by 50% in 2030 and 90% by 2050.
The Project for the Septage Management of Metro Cebu Water District will construct a septage treatment facility, provide vacuum trucks for septage collection, and operating system for sludge treatment. This system can treat approximately 430 cubic meters of septage per day (430,000 liters), ensuring that uncontaminated sewage water is discharged back to the natural environment.
Although septic tanks are widely spread in the region, de-sludging are not regularly practiced and collected septage are rarely appropriately treated due to limited available treatment facilities. As a result of this situation, there is a possible risk on the health of the Cebuanos due to negative impacts such as deteriorating groundwater quality because of long retaining period of septage and/or overflow of septic tanks and surface water pollution due to improper wastewater disposal.
The project will benefit the six local government units, namely Cebu, Compostela, Consolacion, Liloan, Mandaue and Talisay. The JICA grant can help the region overcome its capacity shortage for wastewater management facilities. JICA added that the cooperation in Metropolitan Cebu is supporting the targets under the Sustainable Development Goal 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation.
"Climate change has increased extreme weather events like droughts, putting pressure on water resources. The JICA grant for a septage management system is one way of using Japan's advanced technology and systems to promote sanitation and improve water quality while protecting water environments," said Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema of JICA Philippines office.
In the Philippines, the Clean Water Act of 2004 requires all local government units operating without piped sewerage systems to implement septage management. When septic tanks are not managed, surface and ground water can get contaminated and consequently pose health risks.
Over the years, JICA has been supporting the Philippines in various development areas including environment management through water supply and sanitation projects in areas such as Cebu and Boracay.
JICA Philippines Chief Representative and NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan sign the Grant Agreement for Septage Management Project