Link to a Youtube video showing flowing water from Paco Estero STP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_g6YlVv4VY
A first-in-the-world plant that treats waste water from both an ‘estero’ and wet market and which complies with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards was turned over to the Manila city government.
A Filipino-developed technology called “sequence bio-reactor” (SBR) employed in the Paco Estero plant was turned over as a grant to Manila City Hall by technology provider Eco-System Technology Inc. (ESTI).
The technology may be replicated to treat many polluted river and water systems in the country. It is able to generate an effluent that is of highest quality for non-potable water reuse — 10 milligrams (mg) per liter or less. It keeps up with the United States effluent standards for water discharged to the environment.
Treating waste water from the Paco estero and public market may seem difficult. It is a combination of household waste, sewer backflow, Pasig River (and Manila Bay) intrusion from the tidal flows, rain, and flood water.
But ESTI’s SBR technology is able to comply with and even exceed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) effluent standard in biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) of 50 mg per liter. BOD is a measure of how much oxygen is needed to allow for waste’s decomposition; the lower the better.
SBR has been the preferred sewage treatment technology in the last decade in developed countries as the US, and now also in the Philippines.
Its effluent is ideal for water reuse– for cooling tower, watering plants or irrigation, and toilet flushing.
The SBR plant was bestowed as a grant to the Manila city government by ESTI. It was completed under ESTI’s partnership with ABSCBN Foundation, in coordination with DENR. It collects 220 cubic meters of waste water daily.
“ The clean, clear water from the SBR facility is able to recharge the water in the Paco Estero. This is even if the Paco Estero is affected by high tide and low tide,” said ESTI President Robert Y. So. “This is our CSR (corporate social responsibility) to our community.”
The Paco Estero stretches over a 2.9 kilometer length and drains into the Pasig River.
ESTI envisions replication of this Paco plant in other river systems like Pasig River that are severely polluted.
While many efforts have been devoted to clean the Pasig River over many decades now but failed, the SBR technology is already a successful, proven technology that can actually clean up Pasig River.
“There are 49 tributaries connecting to the Pasig River. There can be similar plants as that in Paco Estero that may be put up there to provide clean water for non-potable use to communities around Pasig River,” said So.
The Sequence Batch Reactor (SBR) has long been adopted since the 1980s in municipal and industrial sites in the US and throughout the developed world. Unfortunately, it’s only now that SBR is slowly becoming popular in the Philippines after companies try to get on with trial and error from using technologies that never really work.
Worse, ineffective technologies work to the deterioration of the environment since waste water stagnating on stinking dams accumulates more harmful bacteria that degrade the environment, emit foul odor, and spread diseases to human and animal.
But SBR has established a track record for transforming the worst contaminated waste water into quality effluent.
This way, it contributes to water conservation and sustainable development.
SBR to date remains the largest scale potable water use reduction effort in the Philippines, reusing almost 3.5 million cubic meters of water in 2014 alone.
As ESTI mastered modular, on-site design of environmental solutions, it sets its goals on larger, city-level water, sanitation, and solid waste projects. As the Philippines experiences growth, it will be through the work of ESTI that this growth becomes environmentally sustainable.
The modern SBR was derived from the continuous conventional activated sludge process (ASP) developed in 1914 by English scientists Ardern and Lockett. It was a “fill and draw” batch process where waste water is filled and then drawn in a tank after going through a process.
The first stage involves treating the raw waste water or primary effluent in a tank, and then the water, under a second stage, is transferred to another tank for aeration to break down organics into microbial mass. The third stage is for settling in another tank and the fourth is for discharging treated effluent.
The advantage of the modern ASP, now the SBR, is it uses a compact, a lot lesser space with just one tank and still subjects waste water through all needed stages of treatment while multiplying effectivity several times.
ESTI’s hybrid SBR
In the Philippines, SBR pioneer ESTI has enhanced SBR with its advanced “hybrid” SBR which taps sophisticated biotechnology and molecular tools that multiply bacterial species in the bio-reactor. Bacterial species eat up on the waste and cause separation of solids from liquids and thereafter clarify the liquids.
The US-EPA certifies that SBR is significantly cheaper by about 40 percent compared to other technologies. It needs less operating and maintenance cost and consumes 30 to 40 percent less energy.
It is highly flexible in treating different types of waste water and very important, it does not emit nauseating odor.
ESTI is a pioneering leader of Total Water Resources Management, holding over 10 proprietary patents and technologies.
Its used water treatment technology allows for the biological recovery of multiple sources of contaminated water for potable and non-potable reuse. This technology has already been applied in over 500 projects across industries but not limited to leachate, abattoir/slaughterhouse, pharmaceuticals manufacturing, food processing, electronics manufacturing, hospitals, hotel/leisure; residential, retail/commercial, and office building contexts.
Aside from its in-house Design and Build capability, ESTI deploys world class environmental technology in partnership with companies that are experts in their own domains: IDE Technologies of Israel for Reverse Osmosis and Desalination; Selecto Scientific of U. S. A. for Microfiltration and Ultrafiltration; SANWA of Japan and China, and MUT of Austria for Solid Waste Management Applications.
With its success in adopting SBR to the local environment, ESTI has gained the trust of industries that need to comply with government standards in an ultimate aim to contribute to environmental preservation.
ESTI has designed and built over 500 used water treatment plants/water reclamation facilities in the country. It has installed SBR sewage treatment plants in Ayala Land properties and malls, SM Malls and properties, San Miguel Corp., Greenhills Shopping Center, Yazaki Torres, Jollibee Commissaries, National Book Store, New Medical City, Petron, Dela Salle Taft University, Sisters Of Mary Boys Town, Villa Escudero Plantation and Resort, , Chinese General Hospital, Victor R. Potenciano Medical Center, Puregold Supermarket, and Shopwise.
The secret to being Philippines’ pioneer and number one in sewage treatment technology is not just in effective business management. Above this, it is having the heart for the vision to realize sustainable development in the Philippines amid its industrialization dreams.
“It has become our personal commitment and vocation to help clean water and environment,” said So.
For any questions or interview requests, please contact Ms. Maricar Bou, 0910-706-1782, 0939-734-5599, 0917-671-1596.