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Cebu News

Naga VM moves to suspend pipe cleansing of Kepco wastewater from powerplant blamed for "fishkill"

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CEBU, Philippines - Naga City, Vice Mayor Delfin Señor is urging for the suspension of the pipe cleansing activities of Kepco-Salcon Power Corp. (KSPC) after it was reported that the water the firm dumps into the sea is chlorinated.

“It has to be stopped right away kay namatay na ang mga isda sa Naga,” said Señor in an interview shortly after he and divers from the Knight-Stewards of the Sea, Inc. (Seaknights) inspected the area.

The vice mayor admitted he just learned from local fishermen of the fishkill believed to be the result of the company’s cleansing activity.

Bubbles are seen in the seawaters about 50 meters from the Kepco power plant. These bubbles are reportedly from the power plant’s wastewater pipe. The bubbles are formed by the wastewater, coming to the surface of the sea from about 15 meters under, which were used in cooling off the company’s machines.

Jasmin Sumaoy, KSPC public relations officer, said she has not heard of the bubbles near the plant. She said Guillermo Dabay, the company’s legal counsel has yet to talk to the personnel involved in the technical aspects of the plant.

KSPC discharges wastewater to the sea everyday. Reports said that twice a week, it mixes chlorine in the water to keep rust off the pipes, said Señor.

He said that earlier, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources ordered the power firm to extend its pipe to 800 meters towards the deeper part of the sea for it to cool off.

KSPC has not followed the order, he said.

“Pero bisan na og mag-extend pa sila. Kung nigamit sila og chlorine, mokatag ra gihapon na kay mada sa sug,” said Señor.

Berting Aliason, a fisherman, said in an interview with The FREEMAN that he would see fish floating in the area every now and then.

Last Monday, several “hinok” and “bugaong” died reportedly from chlorine contamination, he said.

Aliason said that before KSPC came, they could catch at least four kilos of fish in the same area everyday, but now even small fish like “bulinaw” could not be seen there anymore.

Alfie Fernandez, one of the Seaknight divers who did an ocular inspection near the bubbling area, estimated the siltation underwater to be one foot.

Fr. Charlie Orobia, also of Seaknights and a marine biology student, said the water within the bubbling part has “thermal pollution.”

The area’s water temperature, as measured by Orobia’s group, was 30.1 degrees celsius at 7:71 a.m. yesterday. Orobia said this is beyond the 25-degree celsius allowable temperature.He said the firm may have released its wastewater without allowing it to cool off first, which could kill the marine lives there.

Seaknight divers also noticed that the corals around the boiling area have turned black. No fish has been sighted.

Señor, a diver himself, said the Council would “right away” request the mayor to order KSPC to stop releasing polluted water.

Also, he said that until Kepco still uses chlorine and does not have mitigating measures, he would make sure that the suspension order would remain in effect.

Despite complaints of coal ash dust particles that enveloped the area of barangay Colon last month, KSPC was still allowed to operate.

The other day, KSPC opened for commercial operation its power plants.

Señor said the problem on dust particles was already addressed. — (FREEMAN)

ALFIE FERNANDEZ

AREA

BERTING ALIASON

BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES

CHARLIE OROBIA

GUILLERMO DABAY

JASMIN SUMAOY

KEPCO

KEPCO-SALCON POWER CORP

KNIGHT-STEWARDS OF THE SEA

KSPC

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