Manila Water, Maynilad, MWSS penalized for failure to set up wastewater treatment facilities

MWSS and the 2 private water concessionaires in Manila (Philippines) were penalized by Philippine environmental agencies (e.g., Department of Environment and Natural Resources) for non-compliance with the Philippines' Clean Water Act and failure to set up wastewater treatment facilities.  IFC is both equity investor (9.2%) & financier (> $100M loans) of Manila Water.
DENR raps MWSS, concessionaires for violating Clean Water Act (April 22, 2009) http://www.gmanews. tv/story/ 158171/DENR- raps-MWSS- concessionaires- for-violating- clean-water- act
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Wednesday issued notices of violations to Metropolital Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Maynilad Water and Manila Water for failing to put up sufficient wastewater treatment facilities. DENR Secretary Jose Atienza Jr. made the announcement during the Earth Day celebration at the SM Mall of Asia, saying such failure contributed to the continuing degradation of the water quality of the Pasig River and Manila Bay, including the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System, which ultimately drains into Manila Bay. “Under the Clean Water Act of 2004, the MWSS was mandated to provide water supply and sewerage facilities within five years since the effectivity of the law. Likewise, based on their concession agreements, both Maynilad and Manila Water were required to put up their respective wastewater treatment facilities," Atienza said. Excerpts of his statements were posted Wednesday night on the DENR website ( Atienza said, all three firms failed to put up sufficient wastewater treatment facilities as the water quality in Pasig River and Manila Bay remain not compliant with the DENR standards. He added that the protection of the water bodies, particularly of Manila Bay, has been promulgated by the Supreme Court in its ruling in December 2008, when it imposed a continuing mandamus on the DENR, including 10 other government agencies, to protect and restore Manila Bay. “There will be no letup in our effort to strictly enforce environmental laws as punishment is the best deterrent to violators," Atienza said. On the other hand, Atienza called on Filipinos to unite and act to preserve Mother Earth as the country’s environmental situation is worsening. He pointed out the need to devote special effort and attention to the issue of climate change and global warming, which he said, is the biggest and most threatening environmental problem facing mankind today. Atienza said President Arroyo has already been devoting every Friday to give directives on solid waste management and climate change.
MWSS, Manila Water, Maynilad fined P 29.4 million by DENR (Nov 5, 2009)
THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has slapped the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and its two water concessionaires, Maynilad and Manila Water, with a total P29.4-million fine for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9275, or the Clean Water Act. Environment Secretary Lito Atienza said the fines were imposed for their failure to install and maintain wastewater-treatment facilities (WTFs) within five years after the Clean Water Act took effect on May 2004 as required by law.
“The fine of P29.4 million covers only the period May 7, 2009, to September 30, 2009. If they failed to comply, a fine of P200,000 per day will continue to be imposed on them until such time that they have fully complied with the provision of Section 8 of RA 9274,” Atienza, who is also chairman of the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB), said.
Section 8 of RA 9275 provides that “within five years following the effectivity of this Act, the agency vested to provide water supply and sewerage facilities or concessionaires or both in Metro Manila and highly urbanized cities as defined under Republic Act 7160, in coordination with local governments, shall be required to connect the existing sewerage line found in all subdivisions, condominiums, commercial centers, hotels, sports and recreational facilities, hospitals, market places, public buildings, industrials complex and other similar establishments including households to available sewerage system.”
The water pollution charges filed against MWSS, Maynilad and Manila Water stemmed from the complaints of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) regional offices in Metro Manila, Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) and Central Luzon. The DENR offices in the said regions scored the failure of the three entities to provide, install, operate and maintain WTFs for sewerage system, which has resulted in the degradation of water quality and beneficial use of Meycauayan and Marilao rivers, which drain to the Obando River, and other water bodies that ultimately drain into the Manila Bay, Atienza said.
He cited the continuing writ of mandamus imposed by the Supreme Court on the DENR and other government agencies to protect, rehabilitate and restore the bay’s water quality as the reason for imposing the fines, even to the MWSS, the government’s water regulatory body. “The Supreme Court has clearly emphasized two things in its decision: One, that the environmental degradation of Manila Bay is ongoing, and therefore there is extreme necessity for all concerned government agencies to immediately act and discharge their respective official duties and obligations; and second, the need to set timetables for the performance and completion of tasks because time is of the essence in the cleanup of Manila Bay,” Atienza explained.
He said the Supreme Court order is clear in its directive to the DENR to fully implement its Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy, while the MWSS was ordered to provide, install, operate and maintain the necessary adequate WTFs in Metro Manila, Rizal and Cavite, where needed, at the earliest possible time. But in his complaint affidavit filed with the PAB last year, EMB-Metro Manila Director Roberto Sheen pointed out that the failure of the three water agencies to complete the installation of the WTFs resulted in the discharge of untreated wastewater from industries and households in the region directly into the Manila Bay, thereby adversely affecting the implementation of the Manila Bay Operational Plan.
Chemical analyses conducted by EMB-Central Luzon on water samples from the Meycauayan, Marilao and Obando rivers showed that their water quality exceeded the DENR standard for dissolved oxygen and biochemical oxygen demand.
MWSS, two utilities face host of raps (Dec 29, 2009) http://www.manilati php/top-stories/ 8629-mwss- two-utilities- face-host- of-raps
Criminal and administrative charges were filed against the water utility regulator in greater Metro Manila and two water concessionaires serving the capital region for failing to build sewerage plants as mandated by law. In a 12-page complaint filed earlier December but discovered only recently by The Manila Times, a certain Martin Voltaire Perez, who described himself as a consumer and taxpayer, noted that building wastewater-treatment facilities was covered by a provision in Republic Act 9275, or the Clean Water Act of 2004, to help ensure clean drinking water. Without such facilities, untreated sewerage continue to be dumped into bodies of water.
Also in his complaint, Perez noted that Congress enacted the Clean Air Act on March 22, 2004. And despite the fact five years have passed, no action has been taken by neither the state-run Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), nor by its concessionaires—the Ayala-owned Manila Water Services Inc., which serves the East Zone of Metro Manila, and the Maynilad Water Services Inc., which covers the West Zone. Respondents in complaint - Key officials the MWSS were charged with Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Republic Act 6713, or the Code of Conduct for Government Officials and Employees. Those charged were the regulator’s Chairman Oscar Garcia, Vice Chairman and Administrator Diosdado Jose Allado, Chief Regulator Manuel Quizon, as well as Board of Trustees members Aurora Arnaez, Lorenzo Sulaik, Alfred Reyes and Ferdinand Mahusay. Also charged before the Ombudsman were Fernando Zobel de Ayala, chairman Manila Water and Board of Directors members Charles Thomas Cornish, Hiromu Nishimura, Cielito Habito and Oscar Reyes. The respondents from Maynilad include Chairman Herbert Consunji, President Rogelio Singson and the members of the board of directors. The petitioner also asked the Ombudsman to subpoena the financial statements of the water utility regulator and the two concessionaires from the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). While the regulator and the concessionaires earn millions, they have been remiss in their obligation to ensure clean water by failing to build sewerage-treatment plants, Perez said in his petition. “The continuous failure of the respondents to immediately complete the establishment of the waste water treatment facilities would further result in the discharge of untreated wastewater from industries and households in the region directly into the Manila Bay,” he added.
Firm fined for polluting lake, river tributaries (Feb 4, 2010)
http://www.manilast andardtoday. com/insideMetro. htm?f=2010/ february/ 4/metro1. isx&d=2010/february/ 4
Manila Water Company Inc. on Wednesday said it is being fined for alleged failure to meet regulations on wastewater management. Jhoel P. Raquedan, legal and corporate governance head, made a disclosure to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Philippine Stock Exchange Inc. and the Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corp. “The Company received a Notice of Violation from the Laguna Lake Development Authority (“LLDA”) dated 7 January 2010 imposing a penalty of ‘One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00)per day of discharging pollutive wastewater to be computed from 18 November 2009, the date of initial inspection until full cessation (of the prohibited release),’” he said, adding that legal documents and courses of action were being prepared.
The filing was made before SEC director Justina Callangan, PSE disclosure head Janet Encarnacion and PDEC president and chief operating officer Cesar Crisol. Despite the pending case, the firm is embarking on the Three-River System cleanup for the San Juan, Marikina and Pasig waterways. The 10-year program would need P50 billion to bankroll a masterplan for wastewater collection and treatment. The Marikina portion is a catchment that will use interceptors along banks to serve Rodriguez and San Mateo in Rizal, sections of Antipolo and Quezon City. By tidying upstream, the firm said outflow to Pasig would improve the quality of water reaching Manila Bay.
Manila Water said a plant with a 10-million liter capacity would start in the first quarter in Industrial Valley followed by two other facilities rated for 120 million liters per day before yearend. The firm said its $300,000 feasibility study would be sourced from the Asian Development Bank on a grant leading to the Pasig Catchment portion. By 2018, the Three-River System is expected to accomplish full cleanup coverage.
Last year then Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza sued for P29.4 million the Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System along with its two concessionaires for non-compliance” with the Clean Water Act. He said the firms have failed to set up wastewater treatment facilities five years despite the law’s effectivity in May 2004. Manila Water has the east zone while counterpart Maynilad Water Services Inc. covers the west zone with MWSS as regulator. The environment agency’s pollution adjudication board said the utilities should have interconnected sewage lines for wastewater treatment and disposal.