Balibago water declared safe for consumption

South Balibago Water Resources Inc.’s treatment plant in Pototan, Iloilo. (Contributed photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

South Balibago Waterworks (SBW) has declared its water safe for consumption, just a day after confirming saltwater intrusion in its raw water sources led to a temporary shutdown of its water treatment plant in Bongco, Pototan.

“We have resumed normal operations since the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) levels in the raw water resources have declined, and the water is now safe for our customers to consume,” Rodelyn Ngipen, branch manager, told Daily Guardian on Monday, May 6.

Ngipen explained that high tide over the weekend had caused TDS levels to reach a peak of 2600 ppm.

“The plant’s location in a low-stream area about eight kilometers from the ocean makes it susceptible to saltwater intrusion,” Ngipen said.

She assured customers of uninterrupted service in the coming days, counteracting earlier concerns about supply instability until Thursday.

Ngipen also noted the beneficial impact of recent minimal rain showers in the central part of the province, which helped wash away chemical contaminants.

“With the rain, the water is flowing, and there is a possibility that there will no longer be saltwater intrusion in our plant. After monitoring the situation, we expect no high tides similar to those experienced over the weekend,” she added.

The water utility serves areas in Iloilo City, predominantly the majority of the Jaro district, Leganes, and Zarraga, and continues to monitor TDS levels every 15 minutes to ensure water quality.

It can be recalled that on May 5, SBW reported elevated TDS levels, prompting the shutdown of its plant to ensure water quality.

The SBW said that while the water treatment process effectively removes many contaminants, the elevated TDS levels may still affect the water quality.

“It must also be noted that prolonged use of water with elevated TDS levels for domestic uses may cause buildup of scales and corrosion in the pipelines, plumbing fixtures and house equipment such as water heaters,” the water firm stressed.

The utility also mentioned that consumers might notice a decrease in the foaming ability of cleaning products like soap and detergents.


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