DOST-funded technology to help keep Siargao water safe

General Luna, Siargao Island—Safe water may be the next attraction in Siargao as the island puts on board the Eco-friendly Septic Tank System or Eco-sep. 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]," says Engr. Noel Ajoc, project coordinator.

Dr. Merlinda Palencia, developer of the Eco-sep technology, explained that the Eco-sep system deployed in the pilot sites contains Vigormin, an organomineral 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 Eco-sep system will be very efficient in Siargao.  Most septic tanksin the island have a bottomless designwhich allows wastewater to quickly seep through the ground. This poses higher risk of contamination in freshwater and seawater.

"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 Regional Director Dominga D. Mallonga also assured that DOST will always continue its support in sustaining eco-tourism in the island.

"With the developmentcomes 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," guaranteed Director Mallonga.

The Eco-sep technology is funded by the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD). Its launch in the island was participated in by scientists, local government units (LGUs), government agencies, educators, volunteer groups, and students.

During the launch of the technology, DOST also introduced other projects for Siargao such as food-based livelihood for the elderly, IT-enabled livelihood, and DOST's digital S&T library called STARBOOKS. (By Gabrielle Espinosa, DOST Caraga)

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