Las Piñas creates task force on groundwater contamination
() - April 22, 2007 - 12:00am
The Las Piñas City government has created a task force that will be responsible for gathering water samples in areas of the city affected by the reported groundwater contamination.

Jimi Castillano, the city’s public information officer, said Philips Electronics and Lighting Philippines – which used to operate a plant near the affected areas – will head the task force that will send the water samples for testing abroad.

Castillano said that apart from the city government, the other members of the task force are representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Health and the Maynilad Water Services Inc.

"To address the need of affected residents for water, water rationing by Maynilad has been continuing. Installation of water pipes has also started in several barangays confronted by the water contamination problem," he said.

The city government has resorted to water rationing after a trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination report stated that portions of Monarch Subdivision and Cristeta Subdivision in barangay Pamplona I, and Greenview Subdivision in barangay Pamplona III were affected by groundwater contamination.

TCE is a chemical widely used as an industrial solvent to remove grease and oil in metal parts and textile, and as 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.

Philips closed down its electric lamp manufacturing plant in 1996. The firm conducted a clean-up of the site late last year and informed city officials in December 2006 that they are subjecting their waterwaste facility to testing for possible chemical contamination.

The DENR, in earlier reports, cautioned the public against drinking groundwater in Las Piñas after Philips confirmed traces of TCE around its former plant in the city.

Residents in these areas were immediately advised to refrain from using ground-sourced or deepwell water for bathing, washing or cleaning chores, or even watering plants until authorities rule out TCE groundwater contamination. – Rhodina Villanueva

CITY DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND THE MAYNILAD WATER SERVICES INC GREENVIEW SUBDIVISION JIMI CASTILLANO LAS PI MONARCH SUBDIVISION AND CRISTETA SUBDIVISION WATER
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