A Filipina saved Boracay’s beaches from the stink of septic tanks

(Flickr/ pulaw)


Boracay has transformed immensely from its early days as a barren strip of powdery sand. The beaches are still white as snow, but the water is no longer as pristine.

A report by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in March showed that the coliform levels in a drainage that emptied to the sea, near Bulabog Beach and away from tourist areas, was over 47 times higher than the accepted limit for safe swimming and other human contact activities.

While water along the famous White Beach, the 4-km waterfront stretch where the majority of resorts are located, was within limits, officials have long noted the increasing problem of wastewater treatment.

But thanks to a system invented entirely in the Philippines, foul odor coming from wastewater has now been eliminated.

A wastewater treatment system called the Eco-Sep (eco-friendly septic), developed by a team from Adamson University headed by Dr. Merilnda Palencia, was credited by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as being instrumental in the wastewater treatment of hotel septic tanks in Boracay.

“It is not only the smell, but we also check the absence of coliform bacteria,” said DOST Secretary Mario Montejo, in a report by the Manila Bulletin.

The project was funded by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD). It is described as “a self-sustaining and portable/movable wastewater treatment system that uses an innovative combination of bio-stimulation and filtration. It is a low-cost and deployable method for immediate installation of domestic wastewater clean-up especially in disaster-affected areas anywhere in the country.”

The system has been previously used in Tacloban in the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.

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