MANILA, Philippines – The latest report on the quality of water in Metro Manila showed that water supplied by the concessionaires–Manila Water Company Inc. (MWCI) and Maynilad Water Services Inc. (MWSI)–was safe for drinking.
According to the report, the water supplies passed the “bacteriological” and “physical and chemical” examinations and were found of “sanitary quality with adequate chlorine.”
But the latest available report, which is based on tests conducted by the Metro Manila Drinking Water Quality Monitoring Committee (MMDWQMC) on a monthly basis, was for the month of April.
Now that the country is entering the rainy season, the Department of Health (DOH) cautioned Metro Manila residents that the risk of water contamination is higher as pipes usually get submerged in floodwaters.
Engr. Nilo Marayag, head of the DOH’s Environmental Health and Sanitation Cluster for Mero Manila, said it is possible for pollutants to seep into water pipes during flooding, thus, contaminating the water supply.
This is particularly true in areas where there are leaking pipes.
Marayag said that when the water pressure drops due to leaks and seepages, contaminants can seep into the pipes. “Yang ang magiging cause ng contamination ng tubig,” he said in an interview.
“Submerged water pipes can lead to contamination,” he said.
He added that the public should be particularly wary of the water that they use for drinking and in cooking. Fecal coliform, from contaminated water, could lead to diarrhea, typhoid fever or amoebiasis, according to Marayag.
To avoid disease, the health department advises everyone to practice good hygiene.
“Sometimes, outbreaks are caused by poor hygiene particularly in the depressed areas. It is important to observe sanitation and personal hygiene as well as proper handling of food and proper water storage,” he said.
Those who believe they are affected by diarrhea and the water-borne diseases should immediately see a doctor, Marayag said.
“Pwede ka ding gumamit ng hypo solution to disinfect you water supply,” he added. He assured that the DOH-NCR had distributed “hyposol” to health centers being run by local government units in Metro Manila for public use.
Drinking water standards
The Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water (PNSDW) requires that water supplies be tested monthly with samples to be collected from a minimum of 1,249 regular sampling points. These sampling points include distribution systems and household taps.
Under the PNSDW, the total coliform must not be detectable in any 100 ml sample.
In case of large quantities where sufficient samples are examined, health standards require that coliform must not be present in 95 percent of samples taken throughout any 12-month period.
Tests are conducted by the MMDWQMC on a monthly basis. However, reports are not usually released late. The latest report on the website is as of February 2011. – Rappler.com
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