Baguio’s Balili River has ‘far worse’ fecal coliform level than Manila Bay
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources says the Balili River in Baguio City 'has severely deteriorated'

BALILI RIVER. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources eyes the rehabilitation of the Balili River in Baguio City. File photo from the Philippine Information Agency-Cordillera Administrative Region

MANILA, Philippines – The fecal coliform level of the Balili River in Baguio City is worse than that of the Manila Bay, said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Sunday, June 30.

The DENR found that the Balili River’s fecal coliform level was at 1.6 trillion most probable number per 100 milliliters (mpn/100ml).

“This is far worse than Manila Bay which holds a record of 35 million mpn/100ml,” said Environment Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Unit Concerns Benny Antiporda.

Based on DENR guidelines, “the acceptable fecal coliform level for Class A rivers, such as the Balili River, is only 4 mpn/100ml.”

“Antiporda’s group was alarmed after finding out that the Balili River, to which the treated waters of the STP (Sewerage Treatment Plant) drains, has severely deteriorated,” said the DENR.

Antiporda and other officials from the DENR’s central office had inspected Baguio City’s 33-year-old STP as part of rehabilitation efforts.

Aside from this, the DENR found that some animal wastes from pigpens were being discharged directly into Baguio City’s waterways.

The DENR said Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong promised measures such as “building a common facility for hog raisers in a more suitable place.” (READ: Cleaner rivers, estuaries seen within 2019 – Cimatu)

The DENR also earlier ordered the temporary closure of the Irisan dumpsite in Baguio City. It was operating as an open dumpsite, which is prohibited under Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. –