By: Mae Angelica Fabito-Famini, DOST-MIMAROPA PSTC- Romblon
       Marcelina Servañez, DOST-MIMAROPA PSTC-Romblon
       Ma. Josefina P. Abilay, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office

Installation of Ecos-sep at San Jose Public Market

To ensure clean and safe waters in Carabao Island or “Hambil” to the locals, the Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA (DOST-MIMAROPA) in partnership with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources- Romblon (BFAR-Romblon) and the Local Government of San Jose puts on board the Eco-friendly Septic System (Eco-Sep)— a wastewater contamination solution to the emerging tourist destination.

The municipality of San Jose, popularly called by its moniker Carabao Island, used to live in the shadows of the famous Boracay Island in Aklan. However, following the closure of Boracay last April, it becomes suddenly one of the hottest and sought-after tourist hotspots in the country.

Bearing in mind the issues that plagued Boracay, the local government started to have apprehensions that the pristine water along the beaches would also soon turn into a nightmare as many people are now starting to discover their island. Thus, DOST-MIMAROPA proposed a new technology that could protect their little paradise.

Eco-Sep was installed in the island’s public market located in Brgy. Poblacion, San Jose as part of the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) Program. Eco-Sep is a technology that employs a combined bioremediation and filtration process to treat and clean-up wastewater using a locally produced white powder mixture of naturally occurring minerals called “Vigormin” before it is deposited to the environment. It uses a settling and anaerobic filtration process for household sewage that requires no mechanical parts, electric power or permanent maintenance works which guarantees sustainability and low-cost maintenance.

Other project partners, BFAR- Romblon and LGU- San Jose worked together to ensure that all pipes from the wet market are connected to the septic system where all biodegradable wastes will be collected. After the pipes were finished, Vigormin was applied to treat the wastewater coming from surrounding households and the public market. With the use of the technology, issues with the cleanliness and foul odor in the public market area were eradicated.

Simula nung nailagay ang eco-sep dito sa amin, hindi na mabaho at hindi na inu-uod ang aming paligid,” said one owner of a restaurant located near the public market. The heavy presence of the algae in the creek and beach side that indicated that the water is severely contaminated is also noticeably gone according to some of the residents living nearby.

At present, DOST-MIMAROPA is also working on the installment of Eco-Sep in Cresta de Gallo, another booming tourist destination in the province. Cresta de Gallo is an island located at San Fernado, Romblon that is frequently visited by European Cruise Ship ferrying passengers. According to the Mayor of San Fernando, Romblon, this technology would also help them to preserve the beauty of their island and its local beaches.

The Eco-Sep technology is one way to understand the importance of preserving and protecting nature destinations in the country and the people that depend on it. It was developed by Dr. Merlinda Palencia and funded by the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

Before and after pictures of the creek beside the public market