INITIAL estimated costs for the city’s planned sewage treatment plant (STP) and sewage network rehabilitation have been pegged at some P2.9 billion, according to the initial feasibility study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The company working with the ADB, Egis, revealed to the city council that the initial plans are expected to cost 58.19 million USD, or P2.906 billion.
Under the study, the proposal loan from the ADB to fund the project will be settled in installments over 19 years, with an estimated P147 million payment every year for 19 years starting in 2031 after the given ten-year grace period.
City officials have previously negotiated with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) in a scheme where TIEZA would take the loan from the ADB in lieu of the city, which the city will then reimburse over the course of the payment period.
The project, expected to be implemented throughout 2022 to 2026, is estimated to only start turning a profit by 2038, with the initial feasibility study suggesting that the STP will have to be subsidized until then.
The study also recommends a reform in the city’s sanitation tariffs, increasing the current rates by 70 percent three times every five years starting in 2023. However, said tariffs cannot be implemented without the approval of an ordinance passed by the city council.
The project as a whole must also go through the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), which requires an endorsement from the local legislative body.
The Balili River STP, which is the main target for improvements, will be connected and be able to take in and process sewage from other waterways, particularly the Asin-Gallano River, Bued River, and Ambalanga River.
The facility’s capacity to treat 8,600 cubic meters of sewage is not currently being utilized, with the Balili STP only handling 6,000 cubic meters of sewage daily. The rehabilitation and upgrade plans would bump up the aging facility’s capacity to 12,000 cubic meters of sewage daily.
According to the study, only 10 percent of the city’s population is connected to the sewage network, and only 22 percent of fecal waste produced in the entire city is treated.
Data from DENR-EMB-CAR showed that the fecal coliform levels of Balili River and Bued River are worse than that of Manila Bay.