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Updates on the Water Quality Guidelines and Water Effluent Standards (“DAO-08”)

12 years after the passage of RA 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, new water quality guidelines and effluent standards are finally released by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The old guidelines contained in DENR DAO-34 and 35 series of 1990 are now superseded.

The new set of guidelines contained in DENR Administrative Order (DAO) 2016-08, is in compliance with section 19e and 19f of RA 9275. Section 19e says that the DENR shall enforce, review and revise within 12 months from the effectivity of the Clean Water Act, water quality guidelines after due consultation with the concerned stakeholder sectors. The new guidelines however came eleven years late. The long delay, I presumed, was due to the numerous public consultations that were conducted to ensure that all concerns are addressed.

Under the new DAO, water quality guidelines are set for each type of water body. For instance, a river classified as Class A, or a public water supply class II, must have a BOD of 3 mg/L and a dissolved oxygen level of 5mg/L. A swimming and bathing water body like the Manila Bay which falls under SB category should have a fecal coliform level of 100 MPN/100ml only. Fecal coliform are found in the intestines and feces of people and animals. The presence of fecal coliform in water often indicates recent fecal contamination. Note that that current fecal coliform level of Manila Bay exceeds standards.

For effluent standards (treated wastewater discharge into bodies of water), there is major change in policy. Under the old guidelines in DAO 35, there are general standards for all type of effluent. In the new guidelines, significant effluent quality parameters for each industry are specified. They are based on the most probable pollutant that a type of industry will discharge into the environment.

For instance, sugar mills will be monitored for temperature, pH, BOD, TSS and Nitrate. Textile mills will have host of parameters which includes color, temperature, BOD, COD, Chromium, Phenol and Phenolic substances, oil and grease, surfactants, Ammonia, Copper, and Trichloroethylene. Hotels, motels, resorts, dormitories and similar establishments will be monitored for BOD, Fecal Coliform, Ammonia, Nitrate, Phospate, oil and grease and surfactants. These significant parameters however can still be modified through an appeal to the DENR Secretary. The EMB will determine if such request is valid.

What if the said establishments are not compliant with the new set of guidelines? Don’t worry, the Clean Water Act provides for a grace period. Section 19f says, “That when new and more stringent standards are set in accordance with this section, the Department may establish a grace period with a maximum of five (5) years: Provided, finally, That such grace period shall be limited to the moratorium on the issuance of cease and desist and/or closure order against the industry’s operations except in the event such operation poses serious and grave threat to the environment, or the industry fails to institute retooling, upgrading or establishing an environmental management system (EMS).”

Additionally, DAO 2016-08 says the establishment shall submit a Compliance Plan and regular updates on the implementation of such plan to the DENR. The Pollution Control Officers of every company should get a copy of the new DAO.

source: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/pampanga/opinion/2016/06/23/pena-new-water-quality-guidelines-481220

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry held an Environmental Forum on the Updates on the Water Quality Guidelines and Water Effluent Standards – contained in the DENR Administrative Order No. 2016-08 or what is now commonly referred to as the “DAO-08”. The forum was attended by a hundred of participants from different industries where the Salient Provisions of the 2016-08 were discussed by Environment Management Bureau (EMB), Supervising Environmental Management Specialist – Leza Acorda-Cuevas.

This DENR Administrative Order was approved on May 24, 2016, published in Malaya on May 30, 2016 and is effective on June 14, 2016.

KEY FEATURES OF THE WATER QUALITY GUIDELINES & GENERAL EFFLUENT STANDARDS OF 2016 (DENR Administrative Order No. 2016-08)

Section 1. Basic Policy

     The basic policy was taken from RA 9275, otherwise known as the “Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004”, which declared that the state shall pursue a policy of economic growth in a manner consistent with the protection, preservation and revival of the quality of our fresh, brackish and marine waters.

Section 2. Objectives

The objectives of the WQG and GES were defined to provide guidelines for:

  • Classification of water bodies in the country
  • Determination of time trends
  • Evaluation of stages of deterioration/enhancement in water quality
  • Evaluation of the need for taking actions in preventing, controlling, or abating water pollution
  • Designation of water quality management areas (WQMA) Setting the General Effluent Standards (GES)Section

Section 3. Scope and Coverage

  • The scope of the WQG was defined to apply to all water bodies in the country (freshwaters, marine waters, and groundwater) and be used for classifying water bodies; determining time trends; evaluating stages of deterioration or enhancement in water quality, and as basis for taking positive actions in preventing, controlling, or abating water pollution; and designating WQMA.
  • The scope of the GES was defined to apply to all point sources of pollution, regardless of volume, that discharge to receiving body of water or land and be used regardless of the industry category.

Section 4. Definition of Terms

Most of the terms defined were taken from RA 9275. Some terms defined were taken from issuances of DENR, Department of Health, Philippine Statistics Authority, and Philippine Coast Guard as well as from international agencies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and Southern Australia Environment Protection Authority.

Section 5. Classification of Water Bodies

The classifications of freshwater and marine waters were generally adopted from DAO 1990-34 and DAO 1997-23 respectively with some changes. These include the following:

  • Change of classification of waters used for agriculture, irrigation, and livestock watering from Class D to Class C
  • Removal of Industrial Water Supply from Class C, Class D, and Class SD
  • Defining Class D and SD for navigable waters

Section 6. Water Quality Guidelines

  • The WQG were categorized as primary or secondary parameters.
  • Primary parameters are the required minimum water quality parameters to be monitored for each water body.
  • Secondary parameters are other water quality parameters to be used in baseline assessment as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment and other water quality monitoring purposes.
  • The WQG shall be applied to freshwaters, marine waters, and groundwater.
  • Groundwater quality guidelines were defined to adopt the WQG values depending on the intended beneficial use of the groundwater.
  • Process on how to interpret WQG values were defined including the minimum number of data sets for the interpretation.

Section 7. General Effluent Standards

  • The GES shall be enforced to all point sources of pollution, regardless of volume, that discharge to receiving body of water or land and be used regardless of the industry category.
  • Effluent used for irrigation and other agricultural purposes shall conform to the Department of Agriculture Administrative Order 2007-26 or the Guidelines on the Procedures and Technical Standards for the Issuance of a Certification Allowing for the Safe Re-use of Wastewater for the Purposes of Irrigation and Other Agricultural Uses.
  • The GES established the Significant Effluent Quality Parameters per Sector consistent with the Philippine Standard Industrial Classification (2009). With this, industries shall only be required to monitor effluent quality parameters determined to be significant to them.  GES values are maximum allowable limit.  In consideration for establishments with influent BOD greater than or equal to 3,000 mg/L, separate effluent standards were set but applicable only for establishments discharging to Class C, Class D, Class SC and Class SD water bodies.

Section 8. Modification of WQG and GES

Modification of WQG and GES can be requested as long as a clear and scientifically valid evidence having a probative value to demonstrate that such modification is consistent with RA 9275 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations is provided:

  • Designated Uses
  • WQG Values
  • Significant Effluent Quality Parameters per Sector and GES Values

The said request for modification shall be submitted to the DENR Secretary.

Section 9. Periodic Review

Review of the WQG and GES was defined as periodically and its amendment shall be as necessary

Section 10. Grace Period

Consistent with RA 9275, a grace period of not more than five (5) years is provided in cases wherein:

  • Values for the GES have become stringent compared to the values in DAO 1990-35. In such cases, DAO 1990-35 shall apply during the grace period.
  • New significant effluent quality parameters were identified for the sector
  • The grace period can only be given to establishments that submit Compliance Action Plan and periodic status of implementation to the DENR on the steps taken for the establishment’s compliance schedule within the prescribed grace period.

Section 11. Prohibitions

Consistent with RA 9275, certain acts were prohibited.

Section 12. Fines, Damages and Penalties

Fines, damages, and penalties was linked to Section 28 of RA 9275.

Section 13. Separability Clause

Stipulation was provided that in cases where a section or provision is declared to be unconstitutional or invalid by a competent court, the other sections or provisions shall remain to be in force.

Section 14. Repealing Clause

The Rules and Regulations of the National Pollution Control Commission (1978), 1982 Effluent Regulations, and DENR Administrative Orders 1990-34 and 1997-23 were repealed; while DENR Administrative Order 1990-35 was modified accordingly.

Section 15. Effectivity

Effectivity of the provisions were defined similar to other issuances of DENR.

KEY CHANGES OF WATER QUALITY GUIDELINES  

CLASSIFICATION OF WATER BODIES

The classifications of freshwater and marine waters were generally adopted from DAO 1990-34 and DAO 1997-23 respectively with some changes. These include the following:

  • Change of classification of waters used for agriculture, irrigation, and livestock watering from Class D to Class C
  • Removal of Industrial Water Supply from Class C, Class D, and Class SD
  • Defining Class D and SD for navigable waters.

CATEGORIZATION OF PARAMETERS

Parameters in DAO 1990-34 were categorized as follows:

  • Conventional and Other Pollutants Contributing to Aesthetics and Oxygen Demand for Fresh Waters
  • Toxic and Other Deleterious Substances for Fresh Waters (For the Protection of Public Health)
  • Conventional and Other Pollutants Affecting Aesthetics and Exerting Oxygen Demand for Coastal and Marine Waters
  • Toxic and Other Deleterious Substances for Coastal and Marine Waters (for the Protection of Public Health)

WQG were categorized as primary or secondary parameters.

  • Primary parameters are the required minimum water quality parameters to be monitored for each water body.
  • Secondary parameters are other water quality parameters to be used in baseline assessment as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment and other water quality monitoring purposes.                                                    a) Inorganics b) Metals c) Organics

MONITORING OF GROUNDWATER QUALITY

  • DAO 1990-34 does not cover monitoring of groundwater quality.
  • WQG includes guidelines for monitoring groundwater quality.

KEY CHANGES OF THE GES (General Effluent Standards) 

SCOPE AND COVERAGE

  • DAO 1990-35 applies to all industrial and municipal wastewater effluents. It also has a note that states that the effluent standards apply to industrial manufacturing plants and municipal treatment plants discharging more than thirty (30) cubic meters per day.
  • On the other hand, the GES applies to all point sources of pollution, regardless of volume, that discharge to receiving body of water or land.

CATEGORIZATION OF PARAMETERS

Parameters in DAO 1990-35 were categorized as follows:

  • Toxic and Other Deleterious Substance (Maximum Limits for the Protection of Public Health)
  • Conventional and Other Pollutants in Protected Waters Category I and II and in Inland Waters Class C
  • Conventional and Other Pollutants in Inland Waters Class D, Coastal Waters Class SC and SD and other Coastal Waters not yet Classified)

Categorization of parameters in the GES are as follows:

  • Physical-Chemical
  • Metals
  • Organics
  • Microbiological

KEY CHANGES OF THE WQG AND GES

NEW PARAMETERS FOR WQG AND GES

The following parameters are added in the proposed WQG and GES:

  • Ammonia as NH3 -N
  • Nickel
  • Boron
  • Zinc
  • Fluoride
  • Benzo(a)pyrene
  • Selenium
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Sulfate
  • Benzene
  • Barium
  • Toluene
  • Iron
  • Ethylbenzene
  • Manganese
  • Xylenes

CHANGE IN METHOD OF EXPRESSION

The method of expression for the following parameters were changed and/or clarified:

  • Color – Changed unit to TCU from PCU
  • Nitrate – Changed expression to Nitrate as NO3 -N from Nitrate as N
  • Copper – Changed expression to Dissolved Copper from total Copper
  • Cyanide – Changed to Free Cyanide from total Cyanide
  • Organophosphate as Malathion – Change expression to Malathion; changed unit from mg/L to µg/L
  • PCBs – Clarified to be the sum of the 9 Aroclors and 19 Congeners
  • Phenol & Phenolic Substances – Clarified to be the sum of 2-chlorophenol, 2,4-dichlorophenol, and 2,4,6-trichlorophenol

WQG AND GES VALUES

  • Generally, WQG values became more stringent as a result of updating it with the 2007 PNSDW.
  • Correspondingly, GES values became stringent since WQG is used to derive its value through corresponding factors.
  • Parameters which became stringent are as follows: a) Arsenic b) Cadmium c) Chromium d) Lead e) Mercury

ADDITIONAL SELECTED TYPES OF INDUSTRIES

  • DAO 1990-34 defines significant wastewater parameters for 21 types of industries.
  • Since the Significant Effluent Quality Parameters per Sector in the WQG and GES was based on the Philippine Standard Industrial Classification (2009), the number of industries has increased to about 100, and significant parameters have been identified for each industry category.

NEW SECTIONS

The following sections were added in the WQG and GES:

  • Section 8.0 Modification of WQG and GES – Modification can be requested as long as a clear and scientifically valid evidence having a probative value to demonstrate that such modification is consistent with RA 9275 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations is provided

Section 10.0 Grace Period – A grace period of not more than five (5) years may be given if values for the GES have become stringent compared to the values in DAO 1990-35; or if new significant effluent quality parameters were identified for the sector.

dao-2016-08

(Full copy of the DENR Administrative Order 2016-08)

Posted Issues and Concerns from the PCCI Forum:

  1. Why revise the Water Quality Guidelines and General Effluent Standards?         Our population has grown, Our economy has grown, More water are being consumed thus more polluted water are being generated, BUT the CAPACITY of receiving water bodies HAS NOT Changed.
  2. Aside from the industry sector, which sectors will be covered by the DAO?       The General Effluent Standards applies to all point sources of pollution, regardless of volume, that discharge to receiving body of water or land. 
  3. How will the Bureau implement the DAO to SMEs/companies that were previously exempted from effluent standards? These are the companies that discharged non hazardous wastes and with volume less than 30 cum/day?             The General Effluent Standards applies to all point sources of pollution, regardless of volume, that discharge to receiving body of water or land. 
  4. For a factory that manufactures different products belonging to different industry classification, how will the industry be classified?                                             All relevant parameters should be monitored (combine the parameters in each PSIC) Example: PSIC Code 105 (Industry Category: Manufacture of Dairy Products) Significant Parameters: Temperature, pH, BOD, TSS, Nitrate, Oil and Grease                                                                  PSIC Code 37000 (Sewerage (operation of sewer systems or sewage treatment facilities that collect, treat, and dispose of sewage) Significant Parameters: BOD, Fecal Coliform, Ammonia, Nitrate, Phosphate, Oil and Grease, Surfactants
  5. When will be the guidelines on method of analysis be issued?               The Revised Analytical Methods for Water and Wastewater will be issued as an EMB Memorandum Circular.
  6. For companies that would like to have their waste water treated offsite, what waste water treatment facilities are accredited/recognized or available?                                                We do not yet have the guidelines for the transport, storage, and disposal of wastewater/effluent.

source: http://server2.denr.gov.ph/uploads/rmdd/dao-2016-08.pdf; http://www.denr.gov.ph; presentation copy of Ms. Leza Acorda-Cuevas, of the Environment Management Bureau (EMB), Supervising Environmental Management Specialist.

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