By Ben Serrano
Most septic tanks in Siargao and communities in the island have bottomless design which allows wastewater to quickly seep through the ground, posing higher risk of contamination in freshwater and seawater.
This may no longer be a problem after the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) developed a technology called Eco-friendly Septic Tank System or Eco-Sep to help keep and sustained safe water on the island.
This technology consists of a septic water management system that addresses the problem on untreated wastewaters in resorts, public establishments, and households.
Launched in Siargao last September, the Eco-Sep technology is installed in three pilot sites, namely General Luna Market, General Luna High School, and Traveler’s Beach Resort.
“Samples collected from these sites will serve as a baseline for DOST to encourage resort owners, LGUs, and households to adopt the technology in our campaign [as part of the project],” said Engr. Noel Ajoc, project coordinator.
Dr. Merlinda Palencia, inventor of Eco-Sep technology, explained the system deployed in the pilot sites contains Vigormin, an organo-mineral that hastens the decomposition of harmful bacteria that lodge in septic tanks.
Vigormin prevents bacteria from escaping from the tank, thus avoiding contamination of waste water in sewage systems.
Dr. Palencia noted that the sustainable and eco-friendly septic water management system will be very efficient in Siargao.
“Eco-sep will make an impact to Siargao since the source of its eco-tourism are the pristine, fresh and very clean water along its beaches,” said Palencia.
“We don’t want Siargao to follow the footsteps of other tourist areas where fecal bacteria are already in seawaters.”
DOST Caraga director Dominga D. Mallonga also assured that agency would continue its support in sustaining eco-tourism in the island.
“With the development comes challenges from the increasing influx of tourists in Siargao. DOST will always be along the way so that we will be able to plan out carefully and avoid problems in solid waste management and food safety,” said Mallonga.
The Eco-sep technology is funded by the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD).