Student researchers from the biology department of Silliman University presented their research in monitoring waste water treatment facilities in Dumaguete and Bayawan City, using new equipment and new techniques such as bio-filtration.
The research presentation was made last June 1 at the American Resource Center at Silliman University. National Scientist Dr. Angel C. Alcala and US Embassy Manila Counsellor for Public Affairs Carolyn Glassman were the guests of honor.
The research was spearheaded by Dr. Robert Guino-o II, SU biology department chair, who said that the core message of the research was to promote clean water in Negros Oriental. “We want to bring this message out that we need to maintain water quality to acceptable level,” he added.
The studies that were presented were entitled “Dumaguete City Septage Treatment Facility,” by Zyrkxis M. Hisoler; “Bayawan City Hospital Wastewater Treatment Facility,” by Doreen P. Lumayag; “GK Fishermen’s Village Wastewater Treatment Facility,” by Ziona R. Cabahug and “Bayawan Waste Management and Ecology Center,” by Jerahmeel S. Genilla.
The studies used various techniques in treating water, including bio-filtration. Biofiltration is a pollution control technique using a bioreactor containing living material to capture and biologically degrade pollutants, capturing harmful chemicals or silt from surface runoff, and microbiotic oxidation of contaminants in air.
A plant that they used is the tambo plant (Phragmites) which, according to the presenters, is much cheaper and more accessible compared to other methods like chlorination.
The annual quality water monitoring in wastewater treatment facilities was conducted last March 8 to 17 and May 17 to 11, 2017. This was where the junior and senior biology students were able to use their skills in water analysis as part of the department’s service-learning program to help target communities.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources requires local government units that are operating a wastewater treatment facility to submit a report regarding four water parameters: total suspended solids, pH, temperature, and coliform count.
Local government units are mandated to treat waste water according to the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, which provides also for the pursuit of a policy of economic growth “in a manner consistent with the protection, preservation and revival of the quality of our fresh, brackish and marine waters.”
According to Guino-o, communities were “very supportive” when they were doing research. He also recalled the challenges they faced when they started in 2009, using only basic equipment.
He said they surpassed their problems by “taking on the challenge.”
Guino-o said the project is sustainable because it is designed as “service-learning” to the community. He plans to further the potential of their research. “We are planning to develop the existing wastewater treatment plant at the Quezon Park in Dumaguete if given the opportunity,” he added.
Counsellor Carolyn Glassman said research like this are needed and that she is “positive” that it will continue because the knowledge will be handed to the next batch of students in the biology department. The US Embassy provided this project with equipment and financial support.
Dr. Alcala suggested that the researchers adopt the model of their study in Bayawan to Silliman University. He also challenged the students to do more research on Philippine plants that could help in the filtration of waste water.
The research activity this year was co-sponsored by the American Studies Resource Center in Silliman University Library, headed by Nenith Calibo. — (Royanni Miel M. Hontucan, Silliman University Research and Environmental News Service)
Featured image from Environmental Systems & Services (Uk) Ltd