The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is hopeful that the soon to rise Libertad sewage treatment plant (STP) and wastewater interceptor will further improve the water quality of Manila Bay.

“The current fecal coliform level in Libertad Outfall 1 is at 160 million MPN (most probable number) per 100 ml (milliliters). But with the groundbreaking of yet another STP coupled with wastewater interceptor in partnership with MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority), we will be able to boost our capability to mitigate water pollution,” DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said during the groundbreaking ceremony for the establishment of the Libertad STP and wastewater interceptor in Pasay City recently.

He explained that the Libertad STP aims to treat wastewater coming from the Tripa de Gallina — identified as the "main polluter" that has been discharging wastewater to the Libertad Channel and drains into Manila Bay.

Cimatu said projects, such as the construction of the Libertad STP and wastewater interceptor, are pursuant to the 2008 Supreme Court writ of continuing mandamus to “clean up, rehabilitate and preserve Manila Bay.”

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos said the construction of a new STP will help address the issue of bad smell and restore the quality of water in Metro Manila.
The Libertad STP can treat 10 million liters of wastewater per day and has a catchment area of 779 hectares. It is the second STP in partnership with MMDA. The first one is the fully-operational solar-powered STP along Roxas Boulevard in Manila which was inaugurated last year.

The DENR will be funding the STP’s construction while the MMDA will be in charge of the maintenance and operations of the treatment plant.
The construction of the STP and wastewater interceptor is scheduled for completion in November 2021.

Cimatu also said the DENR is planning to use the treated wastewater for watering plants and for the firetrucks of Pasay City.
He emphasized that the government will not relent in ensuring the rehabilitation of Manila Bay as the DENR also targets the cleanup of the section of Manila Bay in Navotas City.

"There’s still a lot of work to be done along the Navotas Fish Port. This is my target towards the end of the year. If not, I still have six months," said Cimatu, who chairs the Manila Bay Task Force.

He pointed out that cleanup efforts are also ongoing in the provinces of Cavite, Bataan, Bulacan, and Pampanga to address the pollution in Manila Bay.
"I believe that a multi-sectoral and participatory approach would yield more palpable results toward minimizing pollution and protecting the water bodies that empty into Manila Bay," Cimatu said. ###