Kanlaon Volcano

Sulfur from Kanlaon Volcano eruption renders water unsafe in La Carlota villages

Erwin Delilan

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Sulfur from Kanlaon Volcano eruption renders water unsafe in La Carlota villages

ASHFALL. A resident shows leaves covered by ash after the June 3 Kanlaon Volcano eruption on Negros Island.

courtesy of Travel with Tin FB page

The smell of sulfur from the eruption reaches Bacolod, about 85 kilometers from La Castellana town, near Kanlaon Volcano

BACOLOD, Philippines – The water supply in several villages in a small city in Negros Occidental has been declared unfit for drinking due to sulfur contamination that followed the June 3 eruption of Kanlaon Volcano on Negros Island.

Homer Bermudo, general manager of La Carlota Water District (CarWater), confirmed on Wednesday, June 5, that the water supply in barangays Ara-al and San Miguel in La Carlota City has been contaminated.

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the smell of sulfur from the eruption reached as far as Bacolod City, some 85 kilometers away from La Castellana town near Kanlaon Volcano. The odor affected people in 24 of Bacolod’s 61 barangays.

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Bermudo said the affected La Carlota villages have depended on water rations since Tuesday, June 4, a day after the eruption.

La Carlota is a small 4th class city in Negros Occidental with a population of over 66,000, based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). CarWater supplies treated water to about 17,000 households and establishments.

The villages of Ara-al and San Miguel, both situated at the foot of Kanlaon, have 500 households relying on CarWater for their supply of potable water. Many more, however, depend on the villages’ springs that are now feared to have been contaminated.

CarWater sources 28% of its water supply from springs in Sitio Guintubdan in Ara-al and Sitio Masulog in Barangay Haguimit.

Monday’s eruption, according to Bermudo, caused a temporary water interruption in the whole of La Carlota City for more than three hours because CarWater could not draw water from the two springs in Guintubdan and Masulog.

The following day, “we found out that all water sources in Ara-al and San Miguel smelled of sulfur, which is a bit alarming or dangerous,” Bermudo said.

He said they would need to undertake an intensive flushing and send bacteriologists to check on the city’s water supply.

Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II said La Carlota is among the 10 localities in the province that have been adversely affected by the Kanlaon eruption. The others are Bago City and the towns of La Castellana, Pontevedra, Moises Padilla, Valladolid, Isabela, Hinigaran, Binalbagan, and San Enrique.

As of Tuesday, the areas near Kanlaon Volcano remained under Phivolcs’ Alert Level 2.

Aside from mass evacuations and threats posed by the volcanic activities to agriculture and the local economy, the Monday night eruption also stranded many travelers after airline companies canceled flights.

A total of 1,501 passengers have been affected by flight cancellations at the Bacolod-Silay Airport (BSA) from Monday night to Tuesday, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in Bacolod City said.

On its Facebook page, however, CAAP Area 6 said all flights to and from have resumed before noon on Tuesday.

“Incoming flights began landing at 11 am, and airlines have been facilitating check-in and possible flight schedule adjustments, with recovery flights starting on Tuesday,” CAAP said.

Meanwhile, Pablo Azcona, chief of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), said around 23,000 hectares of sugarcane fields in Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental have been affected by ashfall and debris resulting from the Kanlaon Volcano eruption. – Rappler.com

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