Top: Participants of the Consultative Meeting on Updating of the 2007 PNSDW. Below: MWSS-RO Water Quality Control Department Manager Evelyn B. Agustin presents on Organic Parameters. (Second Photo, L to R) Manila Water Compliance Manager Gloria R. Mateo, WHO Engr. Bonifacio B. Magtibay, MWSS-RO Technical Regulation Area Deputy Manager Gerardo A. Sullano, Department Manager Agustin, NRL’s Nenita G. Marayag, DOH Engr. Ma. Sonabel S. Anama, and Maynilad Central Lab Officer-in-Charge Rise Anne M. Xavier.
The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System Regulatory Office (MWSS-RO) participated in the consultative meeting for the “Updating of the 2007 Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water (PNSDW)” on November 16, 2015 at Hive Hotel, Quezon City. The meeting was organized by the Department of Health (DOH) in collaboration with the World Health Organization-Philippines and the College of Public Health of the University of the Philippines-Manila, the consultant engaged by the Department of Health as the Technical Assistance Provider to the said undertaking.
The Consultative Meeting aimed to gather comments from the stakeholders regarding specific sections in the Draft 2016 PNSDW, particularly on the list of prescribed water quality parameters and their corresponding numerical standard values/specifications, as well as the prescribed Methods of Analysis for each parameter. Water quality parameters were presented as per classification, namely, Microbiological, Inorganic with Health Significance, Organics including Treatment Chemicals and their by-products, and Radiological. Also presented during the consultation was a list of the prescribed water quality parameters and their corresponding numerical standard values of the water supplied to the consuming public during cases of emergencies and disasters.
MWSS-RO Water Quality Control Department Manager Evelyn B. Agustin presented on the Organics and Treatment Chemicals and the By-Products. In her presentation, she said that these organic contaminants pose threat to drinking water. Ms. Agustin made mention on the possible sources of these contaminants to drinking water such as:
- improperly disposed of chemicals as discharges from factories such as drug and chemical plants, petroleum refineries, and other industrial activities;
- leaching from landfills, gas storage tanks, linings of water storage tanks;
- residue of banned pesticides, runoff from use of herbicide, leaching from fumigants used on crops, leaching from soil from the use of fumigant;
- waste injected deep underground;
- natural occurring substances; and
- drinking water that is not properly treated or disinfected, or which travels through an improperly maintained distribution system.
Similar with other parameters, the legal limit or maximum levels for Organic Contaminants prescribed in the Draft 2016 PNSDW reflect both the level that protects human health and the level that water systems can achieve using the best available technology. Besides prescribing these legal or maximum level for the Organic parameters, water-testing schedules and the analytical methods that water systems must follow were also presented.
Ms. Agustin is a member of the Technical Working Group (TWG) for the 2015 PNSDW Revision and TWG Sub-Group for the Organics Parameters. Isabel V. Bagaporo, Principal Chemist of MWSS-RO Water Quality Control Department is also a TWG member who participated in the TWG Sub-Group on Microbiological Quality.
The 2016 PNSDW aims to protect public health by prescribing standards for drinking water. Specifically, it aims to set safe concentration limits for parameters that may affect consumers’ health; standardize methodologies used in terms of collecting, handling, storing, and testing water samples for different parameters; guide Water Service Providers and Regulators in the application of the Standards, interpretations of results, and immediate actions to undertake in cases of exceedance; ensure provision of safe drinking water during emergency situations; emphasize the linkage between water safety plans and drinking water quality; and establish linkage between PNSDW and Sustainable Development Goals indicators.
The DOH, as the mandated agency to protect public health, issues Drinking Water Standards for the country called the Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water. The 2016 Draft PNSDW, after it has been published from its approval by the DOH Secretary, shall supersede the current PNSDW which was published in March of 2007.