The city government is urging unlicensed deep well and other water delivery services businesses to legalize their
operations by obtaining business permits and complying with sanitary requirements to ensure the safety of their commodity. Mayor Benjamin Magalong said this is one of the measures that the city is pursuing to prevent a repeat of the diarrhea outbreak, the source of which was traced to contaminated water from private deep wells and bulk
water delivery companies. The mayor said that of the 1,300 deep wells inventoried in the city, only close to 300 have
permits from the National Water Resources Board (NWRB).

The city government may not have the authority to close these illegal deep wells but it can impose safety regulations on those supplying water commercially through the issuance of business licenses to make sure that their water gets tested regularly and their operations are compliant with sanitation standards. In the two consultations conducted on Jan. 20 and 22, the mayor sought the help of licensed bulk water suppliers and the association of purified water refilling stations known as Baguio Association of Purified and Mineral Water Refillers Inc. in convincing the unlicensed entities to legitimize their operations.

The mayor said legalizing these commercial deep wells and delivery trucks engaged in water delivery services will be
for the benefit of all – for the owners to freely undertake their businesses without fearing sanctions, for the city
government to ensure that regulations are in place to safeguard the health of the public and for their customers like the refilling station that draw water from these sources to be able to protect their businesses. In response, the refillers association promised to make it a requirement for its members to draw water only from licensed deep well and bulk water sources. At present, there are 39 registered bulk water delivery businesses and 186 licensed refillers in the city.

The list of legitimate businesses will be published for the public to be aware. The Sanitation Division of the City Health Services Office said present circumstances pose a problem for their team as some water delivery truckers draw water from any available sources regardless if these are unlicensed especially when they are pressured to meet the demand. “Even if they make sure that their water storage cans are clean, they get contaminated if they get water from infected sources. Moreoever, there are trucks that are unmarked and we do not know where they are drawing their water from,” Sanitation Inspector Robert Bruce Colewan said.

To address this, the city will conduct inspection and reinspection of water delivery facilities, impose requirements
such as standard ledgers for customers and proper personal protection equipment (PPEs) and uniforms for employees. The city will also conduct an inventory and inspection of all the trucks and require sanitary clearances for them. For easy monitoring, the bulk water delivery companies to include those with both deep wells and delivery were also urged to form an organization. “We are making our policies more stringent not to restrict your businesses but to level up our safety standards for your own benefit and that of the public we are serving,” the mayor said.

“I am sure none of you wants to deal with companies that operate illegally as it will endanger even your own
businesses so please help us compel these colorum businesses to legalize their operations. What happened to us is not a joke so let’s be responsible citizens and businessmen. While the city has responsibility, you also have responsibility,” he said.

Aileen P. Refuerzo/PIO-Baguio

Amianan Balita Ngayon