End to Las Piñas water crisis seen
- Rhodina Villanueva () - March 28, 2007 - 12:00am
To eliminate the dependence of certain subdivisions in Las Piñas on deepwells, the city government said yesterday that Maynilad Water Services Inc. has started laying down water pipelines in areas affected by reported groundwater contamination.

"According to Maynilad officials, the installation of water pipelines in the affected barangays will be made within six months. The move aims to address the residents’ need for regular water supply as well as cut their dependency on deepwells that have become an unhealthy source of water," Las Piñas public information chief Jimi Castillano said.

The city government has resorted to water rationing following reports that portions of Monarch Subdivision and Cristeta Subdivision in barangay Pamplona I, and Greenview Subdivision in barangay Pamplona III were among those covered by alleged trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination report. It is in these areas where the Philips Electronics and Lighting Philippines plant used to operate.

Officials of the plant, which used to manufacture electric lamps but closed shop in 1996, conducted a clean-up of the site late last year and informed city officials in December 2006 that they are subjecting their water waste facility to testing for possible chemical contamination.

Residents in the said areas were immediately advised to stop from using ground-sourced or deepwell water for bathing, washing or cleaning chores, or even watering plants until tests determine that the water is safe for human use.

Last Thursday, Mayor Imelda Aguilar demanded that Philips fully disclose their findings regarding the reported groundwater contamination within one week.

Aguilar also ordered the City Legal Office to look into the possible culpability of plant officials for the contamination incident.

Last week, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources cautioned the public against drinking groundwater in Las Piñas after a manufacturing company confirmed traces of TCE, believed to be a carcinogen, around its former plant in the city.

TCE is a chemical widely used as an industrial solvent to remove grease and oil in metal parts and textile. It is also an ingredient in adhesives, paint remover, typewriter correction fluid, pepper sprays, pharmaceuticals and insecticides. Experts said exposure to TCE could cause headache, dizziness, increased risk of liver cancer, and increased possibility of miscarriage.

CITY LEGAL OFFICE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES GREENVIEW SUBDIVISION JIMI CASTILLANO LAS PI LAST THURSDAY MAYNILAD WATER SERVICES INC MAYOR IMELDA AGUILAR WATER
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