The Court of Appeals has been asked to stop the Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System and two concessionaires from using its combined drainage-sewerage system for allegedly being hazardous to public health.
In a writ of Kalikasan petition, Water for All Refund Movement sought for the issuance of a temporary environmental protection order stopping the use of MWSS’ system that combines sewage and rainwater.
The system where rainwater and sewage are collected in a single pipe without undergoing treatment lacks necessary permit from the Department of Health and Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the group said.
The petition cited the antiquated septic tank dislodging system – like the poso negro system where a third party plumbing service is hired to siphon septic waste.
“It is the same as dumping highly toxic raw sewage into a natural body of water, an act prohibited by law,” the petitioners led by WARM president Rodolfo Javellana Jr.
Aside from MWSS, also named respondents in the case are concessionaires Maynilad Water Systems Inc. and Manila Water Company Inc.
The group also sought to stop respondents from collecting environmental or sanitation charges from consumers and account all previous fees passed on and collected from consumers in the past.
Among the laws allegedly violated by the system are the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System, Water Code of the Philippines, Sanitation Code and Clean Water Act of 2004.
WARM said the collection of environmental fees and sanitation charges from consumers “does not actually go into actual remediation of the environment.”
The group also noted that the MWSS system violated the Feb. 15, 2011 resolution of the Supreme Court directing the regulator “to provide, install, operate and maintain the necessary adequate waste water treatment facilities in Metro Manila, Rizal and Cavite where needed at the earliest possible time.”