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Monday, December 10, 2012


Welcome to our site! We are excited to use the power of the Internet to help us manage our project while doing our best to keep the public informed about our activities regarding sanitation. This web page will also help us to maintain transparency, serve as a simple way to access information, and link the Technical Working Group with other stakeholders throughout the region.

While this is a project about improving sanitation in San Fernando City by implementing septage management and sewerage systems, it is also about health, pride of community and economic development. Thanks to funding by USAID and Rotary International, the San Fernando City Sewerage and Septage Management Project is now underway.

We hope you use this web page to learn about our activities, participate in meetings and give us feed back. Use the resources listed to track our progress and to improve sanitation in your own home and neighborhoods. Below this message you will find a monthly calendar where meetings and events will be posted. We will update this frequently to keep you informed of all of our project-related activities.

We hope you will become active participants in our program, and take on the challenge of improving sanitation in our City.

Thank you,

Pablo C. Ortega, Mayor

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Learning by example

As the construction of the Septage Treatment Facility continues, the partners in the Septage and Sewerage Management Project continue to iron out details of the operations of the septage management program. To assist this process, on May 12 and13, 2011, USAID sponsored a study tour of the wastewater treatment facilities in Dumaguete and Bayawan Cities for key members of the government, civil service and Rotary Club of San Fernando, La Union. The purpose of the trip was to facilitate sharing of knowledge and experience between LGUs. Dumaguete City and Bayawan City have both already constructed septage treatment facilities and are at varying stages in implementing their septage management programs. In Dumaguete, the participants toured the Septage Treatment Facility, which is already operational and processing its full capacity of 80 cubic meters of sludge per day. They also saw the wastewater treatment facility at the City Market. On May 13 the participants travelled to Bayawan City to see the sanitary landfill and septage treatment facility, a wastewater treatment facility for the Fishermen's Village, and a biodiesel processing plant.

wastewater treatment at dumaguete market

Dumaguete septage treatment facility

Mayor Pablo Ortega expressed his enthusiasm about the tour and his commitment to sanitation in San Fernando. “We learned a lot by coming here, and seeing their systems,” he said. On the topic of septage management, Mayor Ortega went on to say, “People often ask me, 'why are you doing this now?' Several barangays in San Fernando already have groundwater so polluted that you cannot dig an uncontaminated deep well. If we start now we can prevent it from getting even worse.”

Mayor Ortega at the Bayawan septage treatment facility

Vice Mayor Gualberto also was convinced of the value of the tour. “This is very important for us, we need to compare our [sanitation] ordinance with other LGUs, and identify good practices that we can learn from. In this way we can ensure our septage management project is feasible and workable for us,” he said.

Vice Mayor Gualberto at the Bayawan septage treatment facility

For more photos from the tour, visit our facebook page.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

San Fernando Sewerage and Septage project on facebook!

For quick updates and photos, visit our facebook page! "Like" us on facebook to be notified whenever the blog is updated, and to share your thoughts on the project. The page can be found here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Promotions Update: Barangay Septage Orientations and Youth Sanitation Symposium

Continuing the effort to inform all citizens in San Fernando about the new Sewerage and Septage Management Program, several outreach events have been held in the past month. Between March 29 and April 1, 2011, the City Environment and Natural Resources Office invited the Barangay Councils and Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) of all 59 barangays to orientation meetings on the Septage Management Program in San Fernando. In total seven meetings were conducted, with between 6 and 10 barangays in attendance at each one, for a total of 555 individual attendees.

Participants were given a brief background on septage management, including basic definitions, an overview of the current situation in San Fernando, the laws governing sanitation in the Philippines, proper septic tank construction, and the relationship between septage management, health and the environment. The recent amendments to the City Sanitation Code (a description can be found here and the Ordinance here) were also discussed, as were the corresponding responsibilities of citizens and barangays. BHWs from all barangays confirmed that they have been carrying out the house-to-house campaign which began after the training session for BHWs on septage management in November. One hundred more brochures – on top of those already distributed since November - were handed out to each barangay for BHW distribution to small commercial establishments. The final component of the meetings was an open forum during which those present asked questions and discussed what they had learned.

On April 15, 2011, former Mayor Mary Jane Ortega hosted a Youth Sanitation Symposium at the Provincial Capitol. 80 enthusiastic youth representing the Philippine Red Cross, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, Union Christian College, and St. Louis College took part in this sharing of ideas.

After introductory remarks by Mary Jane Ortega, the session began with a presentation by Lisa Lumbao of USAID-Philippine Sanitation Alliance on the importance of wastewater management and what is currently being done in San Fernando. Then, Sustainable Cities International interns, Stu Campana and Clara Blakelock, led an asset mapping session wherein groups of 8-10 were invited to brainstorm elements within and outside their communities that could be used to help promote septage management and sanitation. Each group presented their ideas, demonstrating a strong commitment to sanitation and awareness building in their community. The ideas ranged from the use of clubs and newspapers within their universities, to community organizations, to churches, and much more.

Promoting this project is a tough job, and it is not possible, nor would it be effective for the city government to give presentations to every citizen in San Fernando. Outreach by community members such as barangay leadership, BHWs and enthusiastic youth will be a key component in ensuring that everyone in San Fernando learns about the importance of septage and sewerage management and sanitation.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sanitation Presentation

We need your help! If you would like to be involved in promoting the USAID-Rotary San Fernando City Sewerage and Septage Management Project by presenting to a group or organization you are connected with, a PowerPoint presentation for your use can be downloaded here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sewage and Septage Ordinance

City Ordinance No. 2010-014, on sewage and septage, is available here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Desludging: The Challenge Begins

With the successful passing of City Ordinance 2010-014, it is now official: every septic tank in the City of San Fernando will be desludged on a five year schedule.

The ordinance – amending chapter 16 of the city's sanitation code – mandates the contracting out of the desludging task to private desludger(s) and proper treatment and disposal of the collected septage (septic tank contents). With current desludging fees among the highest in the country at PhP 7500, the city's septic tank desludging program brings with it a much lower cost. A Wastewater Management Fee will be charged at the following annual rates, beginning January 2012:

1. Residential building: Six Hundred Pesos (PhP 600.00)

2. Commercial Establishments (excluding malls): One Thousand Pesos (PhP1,000.00)

3. Malls and Institutions: One Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (PhP1,500.00)

4. Industrial: Two Thousand Pesos (PhP 2,000.00)

The fee will be added onto the Real Property Tax (RPT) bill. The desludging schedule will be made public in the barangays as soon as it is drafted, so that residents and establishments will know in which year/month they can expect their septic tanks to be desludged.

Septic tank owners will also be able to request an “out-of-schedule” desludging by contacting the CENRO and paying a one-time fee to the City Treasurers Office in the amount of:

1. Eight Hundred Pesos (PhP 800.00) per household

2. Three Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (PhP 3500.00) per commercial establishment

To comply with environment and health regulations, the city is currently building a septage treatment facility in Barangay Dallangayan Oeste that will clean all the septage removed from the septic tanks. Construction has started on several lagoons, with financial support from Congressman Victor Ortega. Funding from the USAID-Rotary San Fernando City Sewerage and Septage Management Program will be used to hire a contractor to build the rest of the facility. The contractor is scheduled to start work before April 1st.

Construction of lagoons for septage treatment

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Septage Promotions Posters and Brochures Now Available

The newly created Septage Promotions Material can now be found under the 'downloads' bar at the top of this page.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Barangay Health Worker Training on Sewerage and Septage Management

Editor's Note: Barangay Health Workers will be taking on an important role in the USAID-Rotary San Fernando City Sewerage and Septage Management program, by helping spread the word about sanitation. To assist them in their jobs, the project team will be conducting training sessions specifically for BHWs in San Fernando City. These will be a series of one day training events, the first of which is detailed below.

Barangay Health Worker Training - Day 1
Venue - Various
Date - November 9-12th
Cost to Attend - Free for all San Fernando City BHWs

Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) are the front liners in communicating information about sanitation to families in the Philippines. In San Fernando City, there are 310 BHWs working in 59 barangays that work as volunteers to help improve health and wellness in their neighborhoods and communities. According to Mayor Ortega, " these are highly motivated, selfless and dedicated people who are working every day to improve life in our city, and we all owe them our gratitude."

In February, 2010, BHWs, with the assistance of certified plumbers and engineers, conducted Rapid Technical Assessments in 15 barangays to identify issues related to sanitation. During the assessment, they visited 150 homes, interviewed residents, and observed sanitation practices related to wastewater discharge and septic tanks. As a result of the survey, a baseline was established that shows the current situation as far as septic tank desludging, as well as the knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to sewerage and septage management.

Pictured: BHWs prepare for rapid assessments

BHW Training Program - Goal

The goal of the BHW training program is to provide useful and practical information about how families can take simple steps to improve sanitation. This will include general information on how families can participate in the city septage management program, how to properly use and desludge septic tanks, and how to reduce odors, flies and other nuisances that result in poor wastewater management practices.


The training will be conducted by project team members, Sanitary Engineers (SEs) and Sanitary Inspectors (SIs). It will include class room style lectures, and small group roleplaying where BHWs can practice the techniques presented.

UPDATE: On October 21st, 2010 50 Sanitary Inspectors, Midwives and a few select BHWs were trained on the new City of San Fernando Sanitation Program. The training of trainers one day workshop was a joint effort on the parts of AECOM/USAID and the City of San Fernando. The participants from this one day ToT workshop will be passing their knowledge onto the City's BHWs.

Schedule of Training Components

8:00 - 9:00 Registration
9:00 - 9:30 Introductions and Motivational Address
9:30 - 10:00 Sanitation Basics - What is a Septic Tank and How Does it Work
10:00 - 10:30 Coffee Break - Networking
10:30 - 11:00 Communications Strategies for BHWs
11:00 - 11:30 San Fernando City's - Septage Management Program
11:30 - 12:00 How Septage Management Improves Environmental Health in Our Neighborhoods and City
12:00 - 1:30 Lunch - Networking
1:30 - 3:00 Role Playing Session 1 - General Communications Strategies for Sanitation and Hygiene
3:00 - 3:30 Coffee break - networking
3:30 - 5:00 Role Playing Session 2 - Sharing Information on the City Septage Management Program

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Septage and Sewerage Updates

Update 03-21-11: An eco-tank is now installed in Barangay Poro.

We are happy to report that there is lots of new news to share concerning progress on the Sewerage and Septage Program here in San Fernando!

First of all, the eco-tanks have finally arrived in Manila and will soon be transported to San Fernando! The three Eco-Tank units were kindly donated by CityNet and the Rotary Club of San Fernando. As previously mentioned the EcoTanks will be utilized in Barangays Catbagnan, Poro and San Francisco. The EcoTank is an anaerobic treatment tank combined with an anaerobic filter that will produce an effluent of 50 mg/l BOD and TSS, which will meet the Class C requirements of the Department of Environment and Natural Resource and greatly improve the surface water quality in these areas.

While bids for the new Septage Treatment Facility (STF) are still being reviewed by the Technical Working Group for the Sewerage and Septage Program, progress is ongoing and we can expect the contract to be awarded before Christmas, with construction beginning soon after that!

Finally, in preparation for the forthcoming implementation of these new Sanitation initiatives, the first instalment of the Barangay Health Worker Training Program is set to begin on October 21st, with a Training of Trainers Session to take place at The ABC Barangay Hall. The purpose of this Session will be to train Sanitary Inspectors, Midwives, and Barangay Health Workers about septage management fundamentals and the City’s promotion plan for sanitation. Various role-playing techniques will be used to prepare the trainees for a variety of scenarios that they may encounter while delivering promotions and disseminating information throughout the Barangays. It is expected that this initial training session will also prepare the trainees to train BHWs throughout the city who will also deliver septage management information to their Barangays.