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AsianDevelopmentBank

WaterforAll

PilotandDemonstrationActivity:Philippines

ReductionofMercuryand
HeavyMetalsContamination
ResultingfromArtisanal
GoldRefininginMeycauayan,
BulacanRiverSystem

FinalReport
May2009

The views expressed in this paper/presentation are the views of the author and do not
necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), or its Board
of Governors, or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of
the data included in this paper and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their
use. Terminology used may not necessarily be consistent with ADB official terms.

CHAPTER
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background
The Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando (MMO) river system in the province of Bulacan
services a populace of thousands for their drinking and agricultural water needs.
The river system is classified as Class C beneficial for fishery production,
recreational and industrial water supply (DENR DAO #34). Ironically, household,
agricultural and industrial wastes are dumped into this river system, making the
Meycauayan-Marilao areas one of the most polluted places in the world.
The MMO river system is considered
a hot spot of water quality as
formal

and

informal

industries

utilizing toxic heavy metals which


are mostly located along the river
system discharge their untreated
wastewater into the river. The
catchment area of the MMO River
system

caters

settlements

and

to

numerous

establishments,

specifically the upstream areas where industries

Figure 1.1 Map of Bulacan

and agricultural areas are located while small


and commercial fishponds are located downstream. Thus, this poses a threat also
to the aquaculture industry of the province. Bulacan is one of the Philippines top
producers of Bangus (milkfish), with the industry earning around US$80 -100

million annually. The toxic wastes from these industries located upstream of the
river system are deposited in the commercial fishponds downstream.
Lead recycling facilities, tanneries and gold smelting industry particularly the
small scale and informal sector, were identified as contributors to the pollution of
the river system. Of particular interest are the artisanal gold and precious metal
refiners of Meycauayan, Bulacan who supply the thriving jewelry making industry
of the town. Most of these refineries do not have waste treatment facilities and
their emissions find their way into the atmosphere and the waters of the MMO. In
addition to this, many of the artisanal refineries are micro-scale unregistered
operators making it difficult to account for their specific contribution to the
pollution load.
Artisanal gold smelting processes emit high quantities of air pollutants such as
sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, offensive and noxious smoke fumes, vapors,
gases and other toxins. Heavy metals such as Lead, Arsenic, Cadmium, Nickel,
Copper are also some of the pollutants produced by the smelting process as well as
large volume of sulfuric acid that may be released to the environment.
Realizing the need to address the problem of the MMO river system, a pilot
demonstration activity (PDA) a pilot project for the reduction of mercury and
heavy metals contamination in the MMO river system was entered into between
ADB and Blacksmith Institute in January 2008.

1.2Objectives&ProjectScope
The objective of the project is to develop and institute mechanisms that will
reduce the heavy metals contamination from the artisanal gold and precious metal
refineries in the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando river system.

Specifically, the project focused on:


1

Collecting baseline data to determine the extent of mercury and other


heavy metal pollution; assessing gold and precious metals refining
practices, community and occupational health risks and socioeconomic factors related to gold refining in the municipality of
Meycauayan, Bulacan;

Raising awareness of people directly and indirectly affected by the


heavy metal pollution from the artisanal gold and precious metals
refining industry;

Developing effective locally fabricated, cheap technologies to reduce


and possibly recover mercury and other heavy metals from emissions,
liquid and solid wastes and other related ways to safeguard peoples
health and control contamination of the surrounding environment;

Developing

innovative

policy

instruments

with

the

local

governments and the Department of Environment and Natural


Resources (DENR) to encourage support and compliance to
environmental laws of industries/sectors using mercury and other
toxic heavy metals;
5

Strengthening of existing stakeholder group involved in addressing


the pollution problem caused by the artisanal gold and precious
metals refining industry; and

Exploring the possibility of transforming the stakeholder group into


a Water Quality Management Board provided for in the Clean Water
Act.

1.3ProjectTeam
The project was spearheaded by Blacksmith Institute, an independent
environmental NGO based in New York. It is concerned with providing
remediation strategies in locations in the world affected by pollution by tapping
and harmonizing the efforts of key sectors in these communities. The organization,
most known for their project Polluted Places Initiative, has identified Meycauayan
and Marilao as one of the worlds dirtiest places in their 2007 The Worlds Worst
Polluted Places report.
As a collaborative endeavor, Blacksmith also worked with several agencies and
groups for this project.
The University of the Philippines Los Baos provided technical expertise to
specific program components. The College of Human Ecology (CHE) carried out a
health risk assessment and knowledge-attitude-perception study among industry
players and community members. The college, together with the College of
Forestry and Natural Resources, also conducted a policy review analysis of the
municipalities local environmental codes. The College of Development
Communication (CDC), on the other hand, was tapped to design an IEC strategy
and develop the IEC materials. The University of the Philippines National
Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH) was involved in the
conduct of several baseline studies, particularly the mass balance and mapping
studies conducted in the areas of study. They were also involved in identifying
approaches to improve engineering designs of the gold smelting and reduce
pollution at source.
The Department of Science and Technology-Industrial Technology and
Development Institute was involved in the design and testing of the cost-effective
technologies to abate heavy metal pollution from the gold refineries.

Blacksmith Institute also collaborated with the municipal governments of


Meycauayan, Marilao, Obando and government line agencies, particularly the
Region III offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB), the Bureau of Fisheries and
Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and the Department of Health (DOH).
The gold smelting industry of Meycauayan also provided significant project input.

CHAPTER
IMPLEMENTATION
ACTIVITIES
2.1Inception
Blacksmith Institute had initiated multi-stakeholder group meetings since 2005.
The stakeholders included representatives from the Region III offices of the
Environment and Management Bureau, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic
Resources and the Department of Health; the local governments of Marilao,
Meycauayan and Obando; the provincial government of Bulacan; the industry
sector, NGOs and socio-civic organizations.
In addition, in 2007, the MMO river system was selected by the EMB National
Office-DENR as a pilot site for Luzon in operationalizing the Clean Water Act,
with funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). One of
the outputs of the Technical Assistance (TA) provided is to have the MMO river
system declared as a Water Quality Management Area (WQMA) with well-defined
boundaries. Finally, in May 14, 2008, the DENR officially signed the declaration
that the MMO is a WQMA.

2.2ProjectSiteDescription
The Municipality of Meycauayan has an area of 32.1 sq.km. and an estimated
population of 187,298 in 26 barangays. It is located 19km north of Metro Manila.
Like Marilao, surface water run-off comes from the northeastern and eastern
portion towards the flat lying areas in the southwestern side. The main river
system of Meycauayan has an approximate length of 17.2 km. and more than 10
km of tributaries. The mouth of the Meycauayan River ends in the Manila Bay.
Majority of its area is used for agricultural and fishpond operation purposes (28%),
industrial uses (24%) and for settlements (8%).
There are 567 registered considered large business establishments in the
municipality. Noteworthy are the numerous jewelry makers and tanneries in the
area. As of 2004, there are 107 registered jewelers in Meycauayan and 36 identified
gold smelters mostly located in 5 barangays, namely Calvario, Saluysoy,
Malhacan, Lawa, and Pandayan which are barangays located along or near the
Meycauayan and Marilao River. The presence of these numerous jewelers and
precious metal refiners earned the municipality a distinction of being the countrys
center of gold and silver processing. This does not include a number of informal
unregistered industries. Aside from the jewelers, precious metal refiners and
tanneries, there are also industries engaged in the manufacture of steel, textile,
plastics, bottles, detergents, batteries, aluminum, battery plates, cotton and
metal; piggery farms, and aquaculture farms. (Data Source: Meycauayan
Municipal Planning and Development Office)

2.3ProjectStatus&Developments
The project envisioned a holistic and evidence-based approach in resolving the
heavy metal pollution in the MMO River System resulting from waste discharges
from and operations of industries particularly the artisanal gold smelting industry.
Thus, the project implemented activities that ranges from gathering evidences of
extent of heavy metal pollution in the area, pilot testing cost-effective
technologies and organizational / institutional reforms including capacity building
of stakeholders to ensure sustainability of the project.

2.3.1BaselineStudies

2.3.1.1RiverQualityMonitoring

The baseline data for the river system was collected along the Meycauayan river
system to determine the presence and level of heavy metals in four types of
sampling media namely, surface water, groundwater, sediment, and selected fishes
and shellfishes (biota). The collections were undertaken with representatives from
the DENR-EMB Region III, concerned local government units, the BFAR Region
III and Blacksmith Institute. DENR-EMB sampling and laboratory protocols
were observed. Two sets of river quality monitoring were conducted: the wet and
dry season monitoring.
The wet season river quality monitoring was conducted in October 8 -10, 2008 in
the municipalities of Marilao, Meycauayan, and Obando respectively. The dry
season river quality monitoring was conducted in March 5-7, 2008.

Samples were collected from pre-determined sampling stations in the MMO river
system and were taken to DENR-EMB accredited laboratories such as the CRL
Calabarquez Corporation in Clark and UP BIOTECH for analysis of the following
nine heavy metals: arsenic, cadmium, chromium+6, copper, lead, magnesium,
mercury, nickel and zinc. Figure 2.1 shows the MMO river network and the
predetermined sampling stations. For freshwater and sediment river quality
monitoring, samples were taken from 14 Marilao stations, 25 Meycauayan stations
and five for Obando stations. (See Annex A for complete listing of stations).
For groundwater, monitoring was done on June 27 and November 28, 2008.
Sixteen samples were taken from different stations along MMO in June 27, while
only 15 samples were taken in November due to the unavailability of ground
water in one of the sampling sites.

Figure 2.1 MMO River System and Sampling Stations

10

SurfaceWaterMonitoring

Here are the results of the heavy metals concentration in the stations sampled
during the dry and wet seasons for surface water. Detailed tables are presented in
Annex B.
1

Arsenic (As). Two stations, one for Marilao and one for Meycauayan,
were found to exceed the current EMB standard of 0.05 ppm during the
dry season monitoring. Marilao Station 6 near PRI effluent, a lead-acid
battery recycling company, registered 0.1 ppm while Meycauayan Station
9 in the vicinity of McArthur Bridge registered 0.07 ppm. During the wet
season monitoring, all stations in Marilao, Meycauayan and Obando did
not exceed the limit set by EMB of 0.05 ppm. Highest concentration
recorded was that of Meycauayan Station 5: Dumpsite Caingin: near
bridge of 0.05 ppm followed by Marilao Station 2: Vitarich Creek, Obando
Station 1: Meycauayan River after Tawiran Bridge, Obando Station 2:
Mixing Zone Meycauayan River and a tributary, Obando Station 3:
Mixing Zone Meycauayan River near Fishpond, and Obando Station 4:
Mixing Zone Meycauayan River and Obando River of 0.04 ppm.

Cadmium (Cd). Two out of the 14 Marilao stations, and none among
Meycauayan and Obando Stations exceeded the limit set of 0.01 ppm by
EMB during the dry season monitoring. Highest concentration recorded
(0.06 ppm) was from Marilao Station 6 near the PRI effluent pipe. During
the wet season monitoring, 8 out of 14 Marilao Stations, 16 out of 24
Meycauayan Stations, and all of Obando Stations exceeded the limit set
by EMB of 0.01 ppm. The highest concentration recorded was in Obando
Station 5: Manila Bay mouth near Binuangan with 0.04 ppm. Relatively,
Obando stations registered higher concentrations than that of Marilao and
Meycauayan.

11

Copper (Cu). Copper was found to exceed the proposed concentration


limit of EMB of 0.02 ppm in two out of 14 Marilao Stations, three out of
24 Meycauayan Stations, and none in Obando Stations during the dry
season monitoring. The highest concentration recorded was in the Marilao
Station 6 near PRI effluent at 0.15 ppm, followed by 0.12 ppm of
Meycauayan Station 1: NLEX.
On the other hand, all stations in Marilao, Meycauayan, and Obando were
found to have exceeded the proposed limit set by EMB of 0.02 ppm during
the wet season monitoring.
The highest concentration recorded in Meycauayan was 3.14 ppm at the
Meycauayan Station 5: Dumpsite kaingin near Bridge, in Marilao was 0.09
ppm in Marilao Stations 2 and 13 and 0.95 ppm for Obando Station 5:
Manila Bay mouth near Binuangan.

Chromium (Cr). The metal was found to exceed the EMB set limit of
0.05 ppm in two out of 14 Marilao Stations, and none in the Meycauayan
and Obando stations during the dry season monitoring. The highest
concentration recorded was 0.19 ppm at the Marilao Station 4 near
NLEX, followed by 0.06 ppm in Marilao Station 6 near PRI effluent.
During the wet season monitoring, one out of 24 Meycauayan stations and
none in the Marilao and Obando stations were found to exceed the EMB
set limit of 0.05 ppm. Meycauayan Station 5: Dumpsite Kaingin near
Bridge registered a significantly higher concentration of 3.14 ppm,
followed by Meycauayan Station 3A: Bridge 1, near Valenzuela and
Meycauayan borders of 0.045 ppm.

Lead (Pb). Lead exceeded or were near the set limit of EMB of 0.05 ppm
in two out of 14 Marilao Stations, two out of 24 Meycauayan Stations and
none in Obando stations during the dry season monitoring. Highest value

12

recorded was 0.48 ppm at the Marilao Station 7: Perimeter of Multirich


Co., followed by Marilao Station 11: Ibayo Bridge of 0.1 ppm,
Meycauayan Station 3B and 4 of 0.05 ppm. During the wet season
monitoring six out of 14 Marilao stations, two out of 25 Meycauayan
stations and all Obando stations exceeded the EMB set limit of 0.05 ppm.
The highest value obtained was 0.32 ppm of Obando Station 4: Mixing
zone of Meycauayan and Obando Rivers, followed by Obando Station 5:
Manila Bay mouth near Binuangan of 0.26 ppm.

Manganese (Mn). Manganese was consistently present in all MMO


station and exceeded the proposed EMB set limit of 0.2 ppm in 13 out of
14 Marilao Stations, 22 out of 24 Meycauayan Stations, and in all Obando
stations during the dry season monitoring. The highest value recorded was
2. 40 ppm at the Meycauayan Station 11: So. Libis, Saluysoy, followed by
2.31 in Meycauayan Station 6: Tabon, Kaingin shallow well. During the
wet season monitoring all stations in Marilao, Meycauayan, and Obando
were found to exceed the 0.2 ppm set limit of EMB. The highest
concentration recorded was 2.012 ppm at the Meycauayan Station 5:
Dumpsite Caingin near Bridge, followed by Meycauayan stations 1 and 3A
of 1.608 ppm and 1.362 ppm, respectively.

Mercury (Hg). Mercury was found in five surface water samples of


Meycauayan, Bulacan exceeding the limit set by EMB of 0.002 ppm
during the dry season monitoring. These stations were Meycauayan
Stations 17, 22, 23, 24 and 25. The highest value recorded was 0.01 ppm.
On the other hand, 1 out of 14 Marilao Stations, 5 out of 24 Meycauayan
Stations, 1 out of 5 Obando Stations were found to be in exceedance with
the EMB set limit 0.002 ppm. The highest concentration recorded was
0.008 ppm of Meycauayan Station 021: Floodgate Koloong Valenzuela,
followed by Meycauayan Station 014: Mixing Zone Saluysoy Creek #1
Meycauayan Bridge of 0.005 ppm.

13

Nickel (Ni). Nickel exceeded the set EMB limit of 0.2 ppm in one out of
14 stations of Marilao during the dry season monitoring, registering a
significantly high concentration of 0.82 ppm. The station concerned is
Marilao Station 6 near PRI effluent. Another station that registered a
high concentration of Nickel was in Marilao Station 4 near NLEX,
registering 0.19 ppm, a concentration very close to the set limit of 0.2
ppm. During the wet season monitoring, only Meycauayan Station 5:
Dumpsite Caingin near the Meycauayan Bridge exceeded the EMB set
limit. Nickel concentration was at 0.423 ppm.

Zinc. Zinc (Zn) was detected in almost all MMO Stations during the wet
and dry season monitoring but their concentrations were found way below
the limit of 2 ppm set by EMB. However, there were two out of 24
Meycauayan stations that exceeded the limit, registering 2.9 ppm and 2.06
ppm in Meycauayan 6 and Meycauayan 10, respectively.

Hg
As
Cd
Cr +6
Cu
Ni
Pb
Zn
Mn

0.9

0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3

Mn
0.2

Zn
Pb

0.1

Ni
Cu

Heavy Metal

Cr
+6

MAR14

As
MAR13

MAR11

MAR12

MAR10

MAR08

Cd
MAR09

MAR05

MAR07

Marilao Station

MAR06

MAR03

MAR04

MAR01

MAR02

Concentration, ppm

0.8

Hg

Figure 2.2. Surface Water Quality in Marilao River during Dry Season Monitoring

14

Hg
Cr +6
Ni
As
Cd
Zn
Cu
Pb
Mn

0.8

Concentration, ppm

0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4

Mn
Pb
Cu
Zn
Cd

0.3
0.2

As

0.1

Heavy Metal

Ni

MAR14

MAR12

MAR13

Hg
MAR11

MAR09

Marilao Station

MAR10

MAR08

MAR07

MAR06

MAR04

Cr +6
MAR05

MAR03

MAR01

MAR02

Figure 2.3 Surface Water Quality in Marilao River during Wet Season Monitoring

As
Cd
Cu
Cr +6
Pb
Hg
Ni
Zn
Mn

2.5

1.5

Mn
Zn
Ni
Hg
Pb
Heavy
Cr +6
Cu
Cd
As

0.5

MEY24

MEY22

MEY17

MEY14

MEY20

Meycauayan Station

MEY12

MEY10

MEY08

MEY06

MEY04

MEY03A

MEY01

Concentration, ppm

Figure 2.4 Surface Water Quality in Meycauayan River during Dry Season Monitoring

15

Metal

3.5

As
Cd
Cr +6
Pb
Hg
Zn
Ni
Cu
Mn

Concentration, ppm

2.5

1.5

Mn
Cu
Ni
Zn
Hg

0.5

Pb

MEY24

MEY25

MEY22

MEY23

MEY20

MEY17

As
MEY21

Meycauyan Station

MEY19

MEY15

MEY16

MEY13

Cd
MEY14

MEY10

MEY12

MEY08

MEY09

MEY06

MEY07

MEY04

Heavy Metal

Cr +6
MEY05

MEY03A

MEY03B

MEY01

MEY02

Figure 2.5 Surface Water Quality in Meycauayan River during Wet Season Monitoring

0.09

Concentration, ppm

0.08

As
Cd
Cu
Cr +6
Hg
Ni
Zn
Pb
Mn

0.07
0.06
0.05
0.04
0.03
Mn
Pb
0.02

Zn
Ni
Hg
Cr +6

0.01

Heavy Metal

Cu

0
Cd

OBA01
OBA02

As

OBA03

Obando Station

OBA04
OBA05

Figure 2.6 Surface Water Quality in Obando River during Dry Season Monitoring

16

As
Cd
Cr +6
Hg
Ni
Zn
Pb
Cu
Mn

1
0.9

Concentration, ppm

0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5

Mn
Cu

0.4
Pb
Zn

0.3
Ni
0.2

Hg

Heavy Metal

Cr +6

0.1
Cd

0
OBA01

OBA02

As
OBA03

OBA04

Obando Station

OBA05

Figure 2.7 Surface Water Quality in Obando River during Wet Season Monitoring

SedimentMonitoring
Annex C presents the complete figures for sediment monitoring. The following are
the key results on the nine heavy metals tested.
1

Cadmium. No cadmium concentration was detected in sediments coming


from any of the MMO stations.

Manganese. Manganese was consistently present in high amounts in


almost all stations along MMO. This could be attributed to the high
concentration of Manganese in the Bulacan soil. A significant increase in
Manganese concentration was observed in almost all Marilao and
Meycauayan stations during the wet season, which may be a result of
surface run-off during the rainy season.

17

Copper. Copper concentrations exceeded the limit set by Washington


State Standard of 390 ppm in three out of 14 Marilao Stations, none in
Meycauayan Stations and none in Obando Stations during the dry season
monitoring. The station of utmost concern was Marilao Station 2:Vitarich
Creek for registering the highest concentration of 1190 ppm, followed by
Marilao Station 12 and 13 of 557 ppm and 226 ppm, respectively. One
sediment sample, though in Meycauayan, registered 363 ppm, which is
very close to the set standard. During the wet season monitoring, five out
of 25 Meycauayan Stations, exceeded the limit set. The highest was 548
ppm in Meycauayan Station 5.

Lead. Lead exceeded the 450 ppm concentration limit set by the
Washington State Standard in two out of 14 Marilao Stations, none in
Meycauayan and Obando Stations during the dry season. The highest
concentration recorded was spotted in Marilao Station 12: Ibayo, Saluysoy
at 4140 ppm. During the wet season monitoring, one out of 14 Marilao
Stations, eight out of Meycauayan Stations, and none among Obando
Stations exceeded the limit of 450 ppm. Extremely high concentration of
1661.17 ppm was spotted in Marilao Station 14: Bo, Nagbalon 1.

Mercury. Mercury concentrations during the dry season monitoring


exceeded the limit of 0.41 ppm in four out of 25 Meycauayan Stations, one
out of 5 Obando Stations and none in the Marilao Stations. The highest
concentration recorded was 2.34 ppm in Meycauayan Station 21:
Floodgate Koloong Valenzuela, followed by Obando Station 2 of 1.22 ppm
and Meycauayan Station 3A: Bridge #1 near Valenzuela and Meycauayan
borders. On the other hand, no mercury concentration was detected during
the wet season monitoring.

Zinc. For Zinc, Meycauayan River has relatively higher concentrations


than that of Marilao and Obando in both dry and wet season monitoring.

18

During dry season monitoring, three out of 14 Marilao Stations, 12 out of


25 Meycauayan Stations, and none among Obando Stations exceeded the
limit of 410 ppm. The highest concentration recorded of 2400 ppm was
that of Marilao Station2: Vitarich Creek. On the other hand, during the
wet season monitoring, two out of 14 Marilao Stations, 19 out of 25
Meycauayan Stations, and none among Obando stations exceeded the
limit. Extremely high concentrations of Zn were found in almost all
Meycauayan Stations, the highest of which was in Meycauayan Station 8:
Mixing zone towards McArthur Bridge. In addition, Zinc concentration
had an abrupt increase during the wet season monitoring.
7

Arsenic. Arsenic concentrations did not exceed the limit of 57 ppm in


either wet or dry season in all MMO stations. The highest concentration
recorded was only 21.805 ppm in Meycauayan Station 16: After Saluysoy
Creek during the wet season monitoring.

Nickel. For Nickel, one out of all MMO stations exceeded the set limit for
Nickel.

Chromium. For Chromium, higher concentrations were observed during


the wet season. High concentrations of 1354 ppm, 1611 ppm and 1031 ppm
were observed in Meycauayan 5, 6 and 8 stations, respectively.

19

1800
1600
1400

Concentration (ppm)

As
Cd

1200

Hg
Ni

1000

Cr +6
Cu

800

Zn
Pb

600

Mn

Mn
Pb
Zn
Cu
Cr +6
Ni
Hg
Cd
As

200

MAR15

MAR14

MAR13

Marilao Station

MAR12

MAR10

MAR9

MAR08

MAR07

MAR06

MAR05

MAR04

MAR03

MAR02

MAR01

He
av
ym
eta
l

400

Figure 2.8 Sediment Quality in Marilao River during Dry Season Monitoring

8000
7000

As

5000

Cd
Hg

4000

Cu

3000

Cr +6
Ni

2000

Pb
Zn

1000

Mn

m
et
al

H
ea
vy

Mn
Zn
Pb
Ni
Cr +6
Cu
Hg
Cd
As

MEY24

MEY22

MEY20

MEY17

MEY12

MEY14

Meycauayan Station

MEY10

MEY08

MEY06

MEY04

MEY03A

0
MEY01

Concentration, ppm

6000

Figure 2.9 Sediment Quality in Marilao River during Wet Season Monitoring

20

8000
7000

Concentration, ppm

6000
As

5000

Cd
Hg

4000

Cu

3000

Cr +6
Ni

2000

Pb
Zn

1000

Mn

H
ea
vy

m
et
al

Mn
Zn
Pb
Ni
Cr +6
Cu
Hg
Cd
As

MEY24

MEY22

MEY20

MEY17

Meycauayan Station

MEY14

MEY12

MEY10

MEY08

MEY06

MEY04

MEY03A

MEY01

Figure 2.10 Sediment Quality in Meycauayan River during Dry Season Monitoring

3500

2500

Station
As

2000

Cd
Hg
Ni

1500

Cu
Cr +6

1000

Pb
Mn

500

Zn

m
et
al

H
ea
vy

Zn
Mn
Pb
Cr +6
Cu
Ni
Hg
Cd
As
Station

MEY24

MEY22

MEY19

MEY17

MEY13

MEY15

Meycauayan Station

MEY10

MEY08

MEY06

MEY04

MEY03A

0
MEY01

Concentration, ppm

3000

Figure 2.11 Sediment Quality in Meycauayan River during Wet Season Monitoring

21

As

120

Cd
Cr +6

100

Hg
Ni

Concentration, ppm

Pb

80

Cu
Mn
Zn

60

Zn
Mn
Cu
Pb

40

Ni

20
Hg

Heavy metal

Cr +6
Cd

0
OBA01

OBA02

As
OBA03

OBA04

Obando Station

OBA05

Figure 2.12 Sediment Quality in Obando River during Dry Season Monitoring

Station

3000

As
Cd
Cu

2500

Cr +6

Concentration, ppm

Pb
Hg

2000

Ni
Zn

1500

Mn

Mn
Zn

1000

Ni
Hg
Pb
Cr +6
Heavy metal

500
Cu
Cd
As

0
OBA01

OBA02

Station
OBA03

Obando Station

OBA04

OBA05

Figure 2.13 Sediment Quality in Obando River during Wet Season Monitoring

22

GroundWaterMonitoring
The ground water monitoring was done in June 27 and November 28, 2008 for dry
and wet season, respectively. During the dry season monitoring, five samples from
five different Marilao rivers stations, five from five different Meycauayan River
stations, and 6 samples from 6 different Obando river stations were taken. For the
wet season monitoring, four samples from five Marilao river stations, five samples
from six different Meycauayan river stations and six samples from six Obando
stations were collected. All samples were taken to UP BIOTECH for analysis of
heavy metal contamination.
Tables for the ground water monitoring are presented in Annex D. Significant
findings are discussed below.
1

All MMO stations did not register concentrations of arsenic, copper,


chromium, lead and mercury.

Cadmium. For Cadmium, Station 1 in front of Royal Star and Station 5:


Manggahan Restaurant out of the five sampled stations in Marilao
exceeded the PNSDW set limit of 0.003 ppm for the dry and wet season
respectively. The concentration registered was 0.01 ppm in Stations 1 and
5. In Meycauayan, all stations exceeded the set limit during the wet and
dry season monitoring. Dry season monitoring recorded the highest
concentration of 0.04 ppm in Meycauayan Station 1: Tabon St. Caingin. It
should be noted that this sample was taken from an active deep well,
which is a source of drinking water for the community nearby. Other
stations registered 0.01 ppm concentration of cadmium during the dry
season. In Obando, an increase in concentration in almost all stations was
noticeable during the wet season monitoring. One out of six stations
exceeded the limit during the dry season monitoring while during the wet
season monitoring all stations exceeded the PNSDW set limit of 0.003

23

ppm. The highest concentration recorded was 0.03 ppm in Station 5;


Binuangan.
3

Nickel. One out of all stations in the three rivers exceeded the limit set of
0.02 ppm by PNSDW 2007. The station of concern was Meycauayan
Station 1: Tabon St. Caingin, which recorded a concentration of 0.11 ppm.

Zinc. A significant increase in concentration was observed during the wet


season monitoring in Obando Station 4 (Tawiran). On the other hand, a
decrease in concentration in Meycauayan Station 3 (Macalinao Calvario)
was observed during the wet season monitoring. The Obando Station 4:
Tawiran exceeded the PNSDW 2007set limit for Zinc of 5 ppm with a
recorded 9.1 ppm concentration.

Manganese. Manganese was present in most of the MMO Stations.


Meycauayan River has relatively higher concentrations than in Marilao
and Obando. During the dry season monitoring, Station 1: Front of Royal
Star, out of the five stations sampled in Marilao exceeded the set limit of
0.4000 ppm by the PNSDW 2007. The same exceedance was recorded in
four stations in Meycauayan (Station 1:Tabon St. Caingin (shallow well),
Station 2: Maysulok Calvario, Station 4: S. I. Looban Saluysoy, and
Station 5: Saluysoy) and in Station 1: San Pascual (deep well) in Obando.
The highest was in Meycauayan Station 1: Tabon St. Kaingin, registering
3.04 ppm, followed by Meycauayan Station 5: Saluysoy of 2.36 ppm.
On the other hand, during the wet season monitoring, two stations in
Marilao (Station 1: front of Royal Star and Station 5: Manggahan
Restaurant) and three in Meycauayan (Station 2: Maysulok Calvario,
Station 4: S. I Looban Saluysoy, and Station 5: Saluysoy) registered high
concentration. Station 4: Tawiran of Obando also registered high
concentration of manganese. The highest concentration recorded was that
of Obando Station 4: Tawiran with 2.4 ppm followed by Meycauayan

24

Station 5: Station 4:S. I. Looban Saluysoy and Marilao Station 1: front of


Royal Star with 2 ppm, 1.8 ppm and 1 ppm, respectively.

10
9

As
Cd

Cu
Hg

Cr +6
Ni

Pb

Mn

Zn
Pb

OBAG06

OBAG05

As

OBAG04

OBAG03

OBAG02

OBAG01

MEYG05

MEYG04

Cu

MEYG06**

MMO Station

MEYG03

MEYG02

MARG05

MEYG01

Cr +6

MARG04

MARG03

MARG01

Figure 2.14 Ground Water Quality in MMO river system during Dry Season Monitoring

25

He
av
ym
eta
l

Zn

MARG02

Concentration, ppm

Figure 2.15 Ground Water Quality in MMO River System during Wet Season Monitoring

Biota Quality Monitoring


To determine the extent of heavy metal contamination of biota in MMO, three
kinds of shellfish and fish from pre-determined areas were collected during the dry
and wet seasons.
Dry season monitoring was conducted in March 7, 18, and 19, 2008 and the
samples collected were Paros, Prawn, Tilapia, Tahong and Bangus. The wet season
monitoring was conducted in October 8 and 10, 2008 and the samples collected
were four different samples of Tilapia and one Buwan buwan fish.
Paros and tahong are types of shellfishes commonly found in the MMO River
System and in Manila Bay. Bangus, tilapia and buwan buwan fishes are
freshwater fishes commonly grown in the fishponds along the MMO River system.

26

The following were the observations for the biota monitoring. Detailed tables are
presented in Annex E.
1

Paros. Eight metals were detected namely, arsenic (As), copper (Cu),
chromium (Cr), lead (Pb), manganese (Mn), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni) and
zinc (Zn). Among the eight metals, five (arsenic, copper, chromium, lead
and zinc) were found in exceedance with their corresponding standard
limits, one (mercury) was not found in exceedance with its standard limit,
and two (manganese and nickel) were present but their standard limits are
yet to be determined. Arsenic registered a concentration of 2.4 ppm
against the standard limit of 0.4 ppm, chromium of 0.5 ppm against 0.16
ppm standard, copper of 11.2 ppm against the standard of 0.56 ppm, lead
of 4.7 ppm against BFAR (2001) standard limit of 0.5 ppm, and zinc
concentration of 23.5 ppm against 3.1 ppm standard. Mercury
concentration recorded was 0.05 ppm against the standard of 0.5 ppm set
by BFAR (2001) for shellfishes. Manganese and nickel were significantly
present in high amounts. Concentrations detected were 9 ppm and 1.5 ppm
for manganese and nickel, respectively.

Tahong. Three (Cu, Mn and Zn) out of nine metals under study were
detected. Manganese concentration is significantly present in high amount
(143 ppm) but its health standard is yet to be established. Zinc
concentration of 67 ppm was found in exceedance with the set limit of 3.1
ppm. Likewise, copper concentration of 7.2 ppm was also found in
exceedance with 0.56 ppm standard.

Prawn. Five metals namely, copper, manganese, mercury, nickel, and zinc
were detected. Copper and zinc concentrations of 2.6 ppm and 4.4 were
found in exceedance with 0.56 ppm and 3.1 ppm respectively. Mercury
concentration of 0.05 did not exceed the standard limit set by BFAR
(2001) of 0.5 ppm. Manganese and nickel were significantly present in high
amounts, but their health standards are yet to be determined.

27

Tilapia. Arsenic, copper, manganese, mercury, nickel and zinc were


detected in this sample. Tilapia concentrations of manganese, mercury,
nickel were detected only during the dry season monitoring while zinc
concentrations were detected consistently in both seasons. For copper, two
concentrations were recorded (2.9 ppm and 104.73 ppm) and were
observed during dry and wet season monitoring respectively. Both
concentrations were found in exceedance with the set limit of 0.56 ppm for
copper. For Zinc, both the dry and wet seasons recorded high
concentrations. All zinc concentrations in different Tilapia samples were
found to have concentrations that exceeded the set limit of 3.1 ppm. Zinc
concentrations recorded were 53 ppm, 45.705 ppm, 40.845 ppm and 40.845
ppm. Arsenic and mercury, on the other hand, were not found in
exceedance with the set standard. Arsenic registered concentrations of 0.05
against the standard of 0.4 ppm while mercury of 0.11 ppm against its
standard of 0.12 ppm. Moreover, manganese and nickel concentrations of
57 ppm and 2.8 ppm, respectively, were exceedingly high yet their health
standards are yet to be established.

Bangus. Arsenic, copper, manganese, mercury, nickel and zinc were also
detected as in the case of Tilapia. Copper concentration of 2.6 ppm
exceeded the standard limit of 0.56 ppm as well as zinc with the
concentration of 4.1 ppm against its standard of 3.1 ppm. Mercury and
arsenic were present but were not found in exceedance with the set
standards.

Arsenic and mercury registered 0.03 ppm and 0.11 ppm

concentrations against the standards of 0.4 ppm and 0.12 ppm,


respectively. Manganese and nickel, on the other hand, were present in
significant amount but their health standards are yet to be established.
Manganese registered a concentration of 23 ppm while nickel registered a
concentration of 1.3 ppm.

28

Buwan buwan fish. Zinc was the only metal detected in Buwan buwan
fish. Its concentration recorded was 23.53 ppm, which far exceeded the set
limit of 3.1 ppm.
As seen in the Figure 2.16 to Figure 2.24, relatively more metals were
observed during the dry season monitoring. During the dry and wet season
monitoring, only zinc was consistently present in five biota samples. The
heavy metals that found to have exceedance in the biota samples include,
Copper, Zinc, Arsenic, Chromium, Lead, Manganese, and Nickel. One
sample of Tilapia registered an extremely high concentration of Copper,
nearly 200x compared to the standards set for Copper (104.73 ppm vs. 0.56
ppm standard) while 20x more than the standards in a sample of shellfish.

Arsenic
3

2.5

Concentration, ppm

1.5

0.5

PAROS, TAHONG, PRAWN, TILAPIA, BANGUS, TILAPIA, TILAPIA,


shellfish shellfish shellfish
fish
fish
fish
fish
Dry Season

Buwan
buwan,
fish
Wet Season

Biota

29

TILAPIA
small, fish

Tilapia
big, fish

Figure 2.16 Arsenic Concentrations in Biota along MMO during Dry and Wet Season Monitoring
(Standard Limit for Arsenic: 0.4ppm)

Cadmium
1

Concentration, ppm

0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0

PAROS, TAHONG, PRAWN,


shellfish
shellfish
shellfish

TILAPIA, BANGUS, TILAPIA,


fish
fish
fish

TILAPIA,
fish

Dry Season

Buwan
buwan,
fish

TILAPIA
small, fish

Tilapia
big, fish

Wet Season

Biota

Figure 2.17 Cadmium Concentration in Biota along MMO during Dry and Wet Season Monitoring
(Standard Limit for Cadmium: 0.27 ppm and BFAR Standard Limit for Cadmium in Shellfish: 1 ppm)

Chromium +6

Concentration, ppm

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

PAROS, TAHONG, PRAWN,


shellfish
shellfish
shellfish

TILAPIA, BANGUS, TILAPIA,


fish
fish
fish

Dry Season

TILAPIA,
fish

Buwan
buwan,
fish

TILAPIA
small, fish

Tilapia
big, fish

Wet Season

Biota
Figure 2.18 Chromium Concentration in Biota along MMO during Dry and Wet Season Monitoring
(Standard Limit for Chromium: 0.16 ppm)

30

Copper

Concentration, ppm

120

100

80

60

40

20

PAROS, TAHONG, PRAWN,


shellfish
shellfish
shellfish

TILAPIA, BANGUS, TILAPIA,


fish
fish
fish

TILAPIA,
fish

Dry Season

Buwan
buwan,
fish

TILAPIA
small, fish

Tilapia
big, fish

Wet Season

Biota

Figure 2.19 Copper Concentration in Biota along MMO during Dry and Wet Season Monitoring
(Standard Limit for Copper: 0.56 ppm)

Lead
5

Concentration, ppm

4.5
4
3.5
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0

PAROS, TAHONG, PRAWN,


shellfish
shellfish
shellfish

TILAPIA, BANGUS, TILAPIA,


fish
fish
fish

Dry Season

TILAPIA,
fish

Buwan
buwan,
fish

TILAPIA
small, fish

Tilapia
big, fish

Wet Season

Biota

Figure 2.20 Lead Concentration in Biota along MMO during Dry and Wet Season Monitoring
(Standard Limit for Lead in fish: 0.27 ppm and BFAR Standard Limit for Lead in Shellfish: 0.5 ppm)

31

Manganese
160

Concentration, ppm

140

120

100

80

60

40

20

PAROS, TAHONG, PRAWN,


shellfish shellfish shellfish

TILAPIA, BANGUS, TILAPIA,


fish
fish
fish

Dry Season

TILAPIA,
fish

Buwan
buwan,
fish

TILAPIA
small, fish

Tilapia
big, fish

Wet Season

Biota
Figure 2.21 Manganese Concentration in Biota along MMO during Dry and Wet Season Monitoring
(Standard Limit for Manganese: ND)

Mercury

Concentration, ppm

0.12

0.1

0.08

0.06

0.04

0.02

PAROS, TAHONG, PRAWN,


shellfish
shellfish
shellfish

TILAPIA, BANGUS, TILAPIA,


fish
fish
fish

Dry Season

TILAPIA,
fish

Buwan
buwan,
fish

TILAPIA
small, fish

Tilapia
big, fish

Wet Season

Biota
Figure 2.22 Mercury Concentration in Biota along MMO during Dry and Wet Season Monitoring
(Standard Limit for Mercury in fish: 0.12 ppm and BFAR Standard Limit for Mercury in Shellfish: 0.5
ppm)

32

Nickel

Concentration, ppm

2.5

1.5

0.5

PAROS, TAHONG, PRAWN,


shellfish
shellfish
shellfish

TILAPIA, BANGUS, TILAPIA,


fish
fish
fish

TILAPIA,
fish

Dry Season

Buwan
buwan,
fish

TILAPIA
small, fish

Tilapia
big, fish

Wet Season

Biota
Figure 2.23 Nickel Concentration in Biota along MMO during Dry and Wet Season Monitoring
(Standard Limit for Nickel: ND)

Zinc
80

Concentration, ppm

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

PAROS, TAHONG, PRAWN,


shellfish
shellfish
shellfish

TILAPIA, BANGUS, TILAPIA,


fish
fish
fish

Dry Season

TILAPIA,
fish

Buwan
buwan,
fish

TILAPIA
small, fish

Tilapia
big, fish

Wet Season

Biota
Figure 2.24 Zinc Concentration in Biota along MMO during Dry and Wet Season Monitoring (Standard
Limit for Zinc: 3.1 ppm)

33

These results show that the biota sampled from the MMO river system exceeded
the standards set for safe consumption of humans. As these fishes and shellfishes
are widely consumed in the area and sold to nearby communities in Bulacan and
even in Metro Manila, there is a big possibility that the heavy metal present in
these aquatic life could be transferred to humans upon consumption and could bioaccumulate through the years, resulting to certain diseases and ailments.
It can also be observed that there is a high correlation in the contamination of
heavy metals in the surface and ground water, sediment and biota. It can be noted
that the high concentration of manganese, zinc and nickel in the surface and
ground waters were also observed in the biota and sediment monitoring. This
means that the all four media types are interrelated as surface and ground water,
sediments and biota share a common ecosystem.

2.3.1.2MassBalanceStudiesin
ArtisanalGoldandPrecious
MetalRefineries
The National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biological Technology
(BIOTECH) based at the University of the Philippines Los Baos undertook the
mass balance study in the tannery and gold and precious metal refinery industries
in June - October, 2008.
The study aimed to describe the processes in these two industries and construct
corresponding process block flow diagrams. As well, the mass balance studies
sought to identify process waste hotspots and consequently recommend
alternatives and solutions to mitigate pollution and hazards particularly by
improving engineering design and processes.

34

Initially, the project was also designed to introduce the use of mercury retort to
reduce the mercury emissions of the artisanal gold smelters. Through the mass
balance study, it was established that small-scale artisanal gold and precious metal
refiners in Meycauayan City, do not use mercury in their process since they only
extract gold and silver from used jewelries and computer chips.
Figure 2.25 illustrates the gold smelting process as practiced by the small-scale
gold smelting industry in Meycauayan. The amounts provided were based on the
experiential knowledge of the workers as many of them do not measure raw
material inputs. Nevertheless, a major portion of the raw materials inputs and
outputs could be made.
As shown, one (1) kg of gold in 10 carat (10K) used jewelry enters the process for
extractive purification .The extraction metals used are lead and silver, depending
on the kind of product desired. Silver (Ag) is used as extraction metal if the target
product is yellow gold, while lead (Pb) is used when the final product is white
gold. After undergoing an extractive purification process, the mixture is
subjected to thermal treatment where two molten layers are formed: an impurityrich molten layer that is decanted into the surrounding sand-laden work area, and
a gold-rich molten layer that is quenched using nitric acid and water to further
extract gold granules.
The diagram also shows how silver is recovered from the silver nitrate/nitric acid
solution by means of a copper bar. Copper ions were simultaneously displaced by
corresponding silver ions, forming an acidic solution of copper nitrate and making
silver deposits on the copper bars. Silver deposits are then scraped-off from the
copper bar and processed for reuse. The residual silver in the solution is
precipitated as silver chloride by salting out.

35

Figure 2.25 Process block flow diagram and mass balance of a gold smelting industry in Bulacan.

The process yields around 2000L (per 4 to 6 kg used jewelry) of acidic copper
nitrate solution as wastewater in six months. A wastewater concentration of
6000mg/L of copper is way beyond the standards set by the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources, and thus should be treated because of its
toxic and hazardous nature.
Three recommendations were forwarded to manage the wastewater generated in
this process. One is through alkali precipitation and solidification/stabilization
where sodium hydroxide is added to the wastewater to convert the copper ions
into insoluble copper hydroxide sludge that can be solidified/stabilized. The two
others are through electrolytic recovery of copper and bio-remediation. (see Annex
F for study report)

36

2.3.1.3MappingofContaminatedAreas
inPublicPlaces
To determine the extent of heavy metals contamination and pollution in the areas
of Meycauayan and Marilao, a mapping study of public places such as schools,
parks, churches and markets was done. The study sought to identify heavilycontaminated areas for immediate treatment and rehabilitation based on soil and
water samples. These areas were tested for the presence of the nine heavy metals.
A Niton X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer detector was used in the soil sampling
and the HACH Portable Water analyzer equipment was used to test the
contamination level of the water samples collected. For Meycauayan, the
following areas were included in the sampling: Barangays Tugatog, Banga,
Calvario, and Saluysoy. In Marilao, Barangays Patubig, Sta. Rosa 2 and Tabing
Ilog were the sampling sites. Plant samples particularly kangkong (Ipomoea
aquatica Torsk) were also collected and studied. The soil samples collected show
that some heavy metals exceeded the allowable limits. These include lead, arsenic,
zinc, copper, chromium and cadmium.
For Meycauayan, the spread of these toxic heavy metals to public areas is of
utmost concern especially since the area is prone to flooding. There also has been
indiscriminate dumping of contaminated soil in public areas as landfill materials.
A formerly-used lead acid battery recycling plant in Banga, Meycauayan was
found to be heavily contaminated with toxic metals. Although already an
abandoned area, the soil and plant samples indicate high concentration of lead,
cadmium and arsenic. It has also exceeded the allowable limits for cadmium,
chromium, copper and zinc. (Table 2.1) This shows that legacy pollution, such as
this abandoned ULAB recycling plant, continue to pose a risk to the environment
and health of the surrounding communities.

37

On the other hand, the water samples obtained also show contamination of
copper, lead, and chromium. Analysis of the plant samples shows the presence of
zinc, manganese, lead and copper.
The study forwarded several recommendations for remediating the contaminated
areas. These include sealing off/putting a layer of cement on top of identified
hotspots strong enough to withstand natural calamities, temporary containment
of contaminated soil in plastic drums, removal of contaminated soil for off-site
treatment and replacement with uncontaminated soil, identification of dumping
sites and the necessary applicable treatment method, or application of on-site
remediation measures and identification of necessary applicable technology.
Currently, various on-site remediation technologies that utilize the principle of
binding heavy metals are being tested for cost-effectiveness (see Annex G for study
report)

Table 2.1 Heavy Metal Analysis of Soil Samples from an Abandoned Recycling Site in Banga,
Meycauayan

HEAVY METAL

CONCENTRATION (ppm)

US EPA

EXCEEDED

STANDARDS

LIMIT

(ppm)
Cadmium

870. 80

3.9

YES

38

Chromium (III)

82.70

12,000

NO

Chromium (IV)

82.70

23

YES

Arsenic

12,846.19

YES

Copper

1,582.39

310

YES

Manganese

2,349.64

4,100

NO

271,600.33

400

YES

Mercury

0.1

NO

Nickel

160

NO

2,375.23

2,300

YES

Lead

Zinc

2.3.1.4HealthriskAssessment
OccupationalHealthAssessmentofIndustryWorkersand
Owners
Since artisanal refineries largely deal with chemicals and toxic metals, measures to
address occupational hazards are of utmost concern. The PDA also included a
baseline study on the occupational health practices and processes in these
refineries. The study was a collaborative effort of UP BIOTECH, the Department
of Social Development Services of the College of Human Ecology, University of
the Philippines Los Baos and Blacksmith Institute.

The study intended to determine environmental and health hazard flash points
along the gold smelting process and analyze the extent of exposure of the workers
to toxic and hazardous substances. Key informant interviews and focused group
discussions with industry owners and workers, as well as observations in the
workplace were used to gather the necessary information.

39

The focused group discussion among gold refinery owners and workers on July 22,
2008 yielded a process flow chart for the industry showing flashpoints or high risk
processes. Figure 2.26 shows that three processes were highlighted as high risk
processes: (1) thermal treatment that uses Borax, silver powder and Lead powder;
(2) addition of nitric acid to remove impurities; and (3) addition of copper bar and
salting (recovery of silver) that use copper bar, silver nitrate and sodium chloride.
The FGD and key informant interviews revealed that many of the workers in
these industries are contractual and on part-time status or per work basis. This
poses a great disadvantage since such employment arrangements do not provide
them with health and security benefits. There are also a large number of artisanal
gold smelting operators whose operation is not regulated and do not comply with
safety and occupational health standards. In cases of occupational-related health
problems and accidents, the workers mostly assume the medication and treatment
costs although some industry owners shoulder a part of the medical expenses.
Annual medical check-ups are provided by some medium and large-scale
industries. However, they only constitute a small percentage of the gold smelting
industry. In other cases, workers are easily replaced when they are unfit to work.

40

Fig 2.26 Process flowchart of the gold smelting industry and corresponding
flash points

41

Both owners and workers admitted that they have not experienced serious workrelated accidents requiring hospitalization except for some incidents of gold
smelting workers experiencing minor burns due to their exposure to high
temperatures (above 2,000 degrees Celsius in the refining process).
As for other occupational health practices, it is uncommon that workers are
usually provided with personal protective equipment (PPEs) especially for smallscale gold smelting workshops. Most, however, reasoned that the use of PPEs is
burdensome and gets in the way of their breathing and work. Also, the PPEs are
not an assurance that they are 100% accident or risk free. Gold refining industries
do not have a systematic record-keeping for occupational health-related data. A
first aid kit is usually provided in the workplace, but there are no trained
occupational safety, health and environment officer especially for small-scale gold
smelting operations that could not afford such additional cost.
Moreover, there is also low awareness of the health risks among the workers. Gold
smelting workers are generally unaware of the carcinogenic effects of the toxic and
hazardous substances they handle.
The long latencies of diseases could be a factor since illnesses like cancer and
muscolo-skeletal diseases are usually diagnosed years after a worker leaves the
industry.
Investments in occupational health of the workers are generally non-existent as
this is perceived to be affecting the bottom line of industries. The health of the
industries workers must be optimized and disability cost drivers must be reduced
by emphasizing the value of occupational health. By doing so, industries can
expect a return of their investment in the future.

42

The study recommends the following:


1

Introduction of innovative engineering designs in the industry process


to reduce the risk of workers exposed to toxic and hazardous
substances;

Establishment of an occupational health status information system,


regardless of size and income, to be promoted by the local government
and health agencies;

Integration of occupation health issues in mainstream public heath


efforts;

Provision of venues by the local government and health agencies for


the sharing of best practices among the industries and the discussion of
possible improvements in the process to advance occupational health;

Development of effective IEC to increase awareness among workers of


the occupational and health risks of their industry, and the ways to
minimize these risks;

Regular monitoring by the local government and health agencies of


the compliance of industries to occupational health standards, as well
as the provision of incentives to those who comply; and

Orientation of employees on the hazards in the workplace and safety


measures in case of emergencies, to be conducted by an independent
and certified institution.

43

Community Perception on Heavy Metals Pollution


Also at risk from the heavy metal pollution problem caused by these industries are
the communities near gold and precious metal refineries. This is a major concern
since the zoning ordinance that designates the residential area from industry
facilities are not strictly enforced. Also, gold smelting workshops are usually
located at the backyard of the owners residences. Community members near the
gold smelting workshops are exposed to the acid gases from the refining process,
the suspended heavy metal dusts and contaminated wastewater.
To determine the communities awareness, attitude and practices associated with
toxic and hazardous substances from these refineries (gold, tannery and lead
recycling), a study was carried out by the Department of Social Development
Services, College of Human Ecology of UPLB in July to September 2008. Six
communities in Marilao and Meycauayan were studied.
Around 1000 household heads were purposively selected and interviewed. For the
gold refinery industry, the study area concentrated on Barangays Saluysoy and
Calvario, while tannery areas included Barangays Tugatog, Bancal, Banga and
Caingin all in Meycauayan, Bulacan. For the lead recycling industry, three
affected barangays were included, Barangays Patubig, Tabing Ilog and Sta. Rosa
2.

Socio-demographic characteristics
Majority of the respondents were female, young adults (26-45 years of age),
married, Catholics and have reached middle school. Less than one-fourth of the
respondents were housewives and business owners. Less than five percent (5%) of
the respondents work in any of the industries under study. This could be explained
by the fact that these industries usually employ males.

44

A total of 4, 214 household members were included in the study, with an average
household size of four. Majority of household members were female, single and
unemployed. In Meycauayan, more than half of the household members were
relatively in their teen years (13-19 years old). Only a little more than a quarter
work in the gold refineries, and this could be due to the closing down of shops due
to the low demand in the products and competition from other countries.
Almost half of the respondents were originally from Bulacan and have stayed in
the area for more than 25 years. This might have implications in terms of the longterm effect of these industries on their families health and finances, including
their de-motivation for leaving the area.
The top three most identified social organizations were the barangay government,
the neighborhood association and the womens organization. These organizations
were seen as possible partners in creating awareness about the environmental
problem faced by the community and mobilize the community members in helping
resolve the problem.

Knowledge of community and health problems

The respondents shared that their top three community problems are related to
environment, economic and health concerns. Flooding is a primary concern in
Meycauayan as a large part of the city is low-lying and near the Meycauayan
River. Infrastructure and residential developments block the waterway, further
worsening the problem.
Respondents also perceived that the Meycauayan River is polluted or even dead.
Solid waste problems were also identified as a major concern. It should be noted
that heavy metal pollution was not readily identified by the respondents. A reason

45

for this could be that these environmental problems are more readily observed or
have directly felt impacts among the townsfolk than the heavy metal pollution.
Economic concerns include unemployment and financial difficulties experienced y
the industries/businesses. The health problem identified was the prevalence of the
common diseases, like cough, cold, skin diseases and dengue, particularly among
the children. Other health problems include skin diseases and lung problems. In
the household level, respondents shared that the most common health problems
are asthma, tuberculosis (particularly in the lead recycling communities), heart
disease and skin problems. Respondents also indicated that workers in gold
smelting refineries are most prone to lung and skin diseases as they are exposed to
toxic and hazardous substances.
Respondents associate these diseases with the ever-changing weather, fumes from
the industries, air and water pollution from the surrounding environment and
natural causes like old age. In addition, more than 70 percent of the respondents
consult a doctor when they are sick. This has implications particularly in
developing trainings or campaigns aimed to improve the capability of local health
practitioners in identifying the link between heavy metals pollution and these
diseases, rather than looking at these diseases as part of the normal phenomenon.

Knowledge and perception of heavy metals and industries

Only a small fraction of the respondents could identify the commonly used
chemicals for each industry. For gold smelting, the respondents identified
mercury, copper, senero and nickel. Of the chemicals used in this industry, they
perceive muriatic acid, silver and lime as having negative effects to health and
environment. It should be noted that these three chemicals are readily identified
because of their foul smell and the fumes they emit and the burns they cause.
Majority of the respondents were ambivalent in their view of the gold smelting
industry. While they recognize its contributions to the community and city, they

46

are wary of its negative effects to their health and the environment. Almost 40
percent of the respondents feel negatively towards the industry, and only seven
percent found it favorable because of its economic and cultural contributions to
the city. One of the major complaints against the gold smelting refineries is the
fumes emitted that cause difficulties in breathing and corrosion of the GI sheet
roofs of the houses.
More than a third of the respondents strongly agreed with statements pertaining
to their willingness to participate in efforts to improve the health and
environmental condition of the community, and the need for the local government
to monitor operations detrimental to the environment.
For gold smelting communities in particular, more than half of the respondents
positively agree that there is hope in improving the processes of the gold smelting
industry to reduce pollution and negative effects to the environment and health.
(see Annex H for study report)

2.3.2AwarenessRaising
Aware of the importance of information and the need to communicate to the
stakeholders of the pollution problem, part of the PDAs objective was to raise the
awareness of the people directly and indirectly affected by the heavy metals
problem. This part of the PDAs objective was carried out by the College of
Development Communication from the University of the Philippines Los Baos,
along with other institutions such as UP BIOTECH and the Department of
Science and Technology Industrial Technology and Development Institute.
The primary output of this project component was a produced set of information,
education and communication (IEC) materials that is envisioned to promote
occupational health and safety among industry workers and owners. It also aims
to inform the local stakeholders (community leaders, local government,

47

organizations and institutions) of the negative effects of heavy metal pollution and
the means by which they can address and respond to these issues.
The IEC materials produced were in the form of pamphlets, health advisories/fact
sheets, posters and comic books.

2.3.2.1MultisectoralIECFora&
PlanningWorkshops
A series of workshops and seminars were conducted with various community
stakeholders. One of the major sectors mobilized for the IEC component of the
project is the gold and precious metal refiners. A forum was conducted last July
28, 2008 to identify the current state of the industry specifically to verify current
engineering practices, their perception on heavy metal pollution, as well as issues
with regards the adoption of anti-pollution devices in the workplace. Scientists
and experts from the DOST-ITDI and UP BIOTECH served as resource persons.
The fora yielded significant recommendations on how to best manage the pollution
problem. One significant proposal was to set-up common treatment facilities for
heavy metals and organic wastes, especially for refineries with space limitations.
This involves the development of effective, low-cost anti-pollution devices. It was
also recommended that the DENR-EMB and the LGUs undertake a strict
monitoring of the industries compliance to these mechanisms to encourage the
installation of such systems.
Aside from the fora, a multi-stakeholders IEC planning workshop was held in
October 15 -16, 2008 at Malolos, Bulacan. This was spearheaded by the College of
Development Communication in partnership with the Blacksmith Institute,
DENR-EMB Region III, the Bulacan Provincial Environment and Natural
Resources Office (BENRO), and UP Los Baos. The objective of the workshop
was to develop an IEC strategy with the key stakeholders that will communicate

48

the pollution problem to the public and the significant results of the baseline
studies.
Around 60 participants from different sectors attended the workshop. There were
representatives from the local government and its line agencies like the Municipal
Planning Office, Engineering Office, Business Permit and Licensing Office, Health
and Sanitation Office, as well as government regulatory agencies like the DENREMB Region III and Department of Health Region III. Representatives from the
academe, gold smelting and tannery industries also participated in the workshop.
The first day of the workshop was devoted to the presentation of the baseline
studies conducted by Blacksmith Institute, UP Los Baos and Bulacan State
University. Technologies to address the pollution problem were also presented by
the DOST-ITDI. The second day focused on the IEC planning workshop proper,
with inputs on risk communication and communication planning from the College
of Development Communication. The participants were grouped into four LGU,
community, gold smelting and tannery industries. The groups were asked to
identify priority stakeholders that the IEC materials will target. Table 2.2 presents
the key stakeholders identified by the multi-sectoral group.
Table 2.2 Identified Priority Stakeholders for the IEC per Sector (as identified by multi-sectoral group)

SECTOR
Industry (owners,
workers, suppliers)

Community

LGUs/GOs

PRIORITY STAKEHOLDER (AUDIENCE)


Tannery and gold smelting refineries
Jewelry making industries
Lead recycling facilities
Livestock growers
Fishpond owners
Children
Households
Schools
POs and other civic organizations (FARMC)
Barangay, municipal, provincial local
government
Regional offices such as the EMB Region III,
DOH Region III and the Bureau of Fisheries
and Aquatic Resources

49

The groups also identified the needs of these priority stakeholders, as well as the
objectives, key messages and communication materials and methods that were
figured in the IEC plan. A multi-pronged IEC approach that informs and at the
same time mobilizes the stakeholders into action was suggested. The key messages
centered on two things: the problem and the doable solutions and alternatives to
the problem. (see Annex I for IEC plan) The formation of a volunteer group for
information dissemination and advocacy campaign is also targeted.

SampleIECMaterials:postersontheuseofPPEsintheworkplace(leftandcenter);bo
occupationalhealthandcosteffectivetechnologies(right)

Inputs from the workshop outputs and discussions were used in the development
of the IEC materials listed in the table below and were pre-tested since November
2008:

50

Table 2.3. IEC Materials developed for the MMORS WQMA

Sector

Type of IEC Material

Industry

Comic

(workers)

posters

book

Purpose

and Increase awareness and appreciation


of occupational health and safety
specially in the use of PPEs

Industry (owners)

Primer

Increase awareness and appreciation


of owners on industrial hygiene and
occupational health

Industry (owners)

Local

Primer

on

awareness

effective

effective

technologies

industries could adopt

Health Primer

Professionals

Cost- Increase

on

about

technologies

costwhich

heavy Guide local health professionals in

metal contamination heavy metal contamination detection


detection

and and surveillance

surveillance
Community

Fact
Posters

Sheet

and Increase awareness of community


members on the issue of heavy metal
pollution and importance of cleaner
industry

processes

for

healthier

communities
Aside from the development of IEC Materials, Blacksmith Institute have been
active in organizing and participating in activities that could serve as a venue to
increase awareness of the community about the heavy metal pollution in the area
and to drum up support to the rehabilitation efforts initiated by the project.
Blacksmith Institute in partnership with the Provincial Government of Bulacan
and MMO Water Quality Management Area Board also conducted a day eco-camp
for youth leaders of Meycauayan, Marilao and Obando last March 28, 2009. This
eco-camp was organized to orient the youth leaders about the situation of the

51

MMO River system, the environment in general and also introduce to the youth
leaders current projects being done to rehabilitate the river systems. The camp
also served as a venue to conscientize the youth leaders on their role in
environmental stewardship.
The youth participants also participated in the Clean Up Drive of the Prenza Dam
last March 29 in Marilao as part of the provinces celebration of the Clean Water
Day.
Blacksmith Institute was also invited to present the project updates to the
technical officers of DOH Region III last February in Pampanga and in the InterAgency Committee on Environmental Health Region III meeting last March 25,
2009 in Tarlac.

Blacksmith Institute was also invited to provide technical

background on the current state of the MMO River System in a documentary


produced by The Correspondents, a production of ABS-CBN Network.

2.3.2.2ToxicologyWorkshopfor
MedicalPractitioners
A separate workshop for the local medical practitioners and municipal health
officers and workers in Meycauayan, Marilao and Obando including the other
municipalities in the MMO Water Quality Management Area (WQMA) was held in
October 27-29, 2008 in Malolos, Bulacan. This was deemed significant since
currently there are no resident toxicologists in the health offices of these areas.
The workshop was geared to educate the medical practitioners of the sources,
causes and effects of heavy metal poisoning and their proper diagnosis and
treatment procedures. More importantly, the workshop sought to develop a proactive local surveillance system that would serve as the sectors roadmap to
monitoring cases of heavy metal contamination in the community and the

52

agencies

and

mechanisms

that will

facilitate

preventive

and

curative

interventions.
The three-day seminar-workshop was facilitated by the National Poison Control
and Management Center, the countrys foremost expert in toxicology. Thirty-three
(33) health practitioners (doctors, nurses, sanitary officers) from the municipalities
of Meycauayan, Marilao, Obando, Sta. Maria, Bocaue, Paombong, Hagonoy,
Bulakan, Balagtas, Calumpit and Malolos attended the workshop.
The activity was structured into three modules, introduction to toxicology, heavy
metal poisoning, and the development of a surveillance system for poisoning
exposures on the third day.
Eight key areas for the surveillance system were identified during the workshop:

Local government and involvement

Sources of heavy metal pollution

Community awareness and social orientation

Health evaluation

Monitoring survey of industry and communities

Patient management

Collection and selection of data

Capability-building of local health staff and workers

An action plan was developed during the meeting to guide the local health
practitioners for health surveillance particularly on cases of heavy metal
contamination.

2.3.2.3TechnologyTransferMeetings
To inform industry workers of the available technologies and engineering designs
and processes that could address the pollution and the high health-risk caused by
53

their industries, the first in a series of technology transfer meetings was organized
in November 4, 2008 together with experts from DOST-ITDI, UP BIOTECH,
Blacksmith Institute and industry cooperators .
The consultative workshop outlined solutions that could be adopted by these
industries by improving engineering designs, including the following best practices
for the gold smelting refineries:

Use of a wet and dry scrubber developed by the DOST-ITDI

Gradual mixing of nitric acid during the refining process for more
effective scrubbing of air pollutants by the wet and dry scrubber

Inclusion of a fume hood or closure to the scrubber facility

Adoption of a three-step chemical reduction, alkali precipitation


and solidification process to manage water effluents (refer to costeffective technologies section)

Use of electrolysis process to recover heavy metals from effluent

Use of aerobic or anaerobic bioremediation process to treat organic


wastes

In addition, the project also spearheaded an inventory of operating gold smelters


in Meycauayan in cooperation with the Business Permit and Licensing Office and
the City Planning and Development Office of Meycauayan. Of the 40 recognized
gold smelting shops in Barangays Saluysoy, Calvario, Malhacan, Libtong,
Pandayan, Bancal and Lawa, only four are officially registered in the city. Inputs
gathered from interviews with selected gold smelters on the adoption of antipollution technologies were used during the second technology transfer meeting in
March 19, 2009.
The second technology transfer meeting was held with owners and technical
officers of the gold smelting and jewelry making industry at the Philippine
Jewelry Center in Meycauayan. Updates on the pilot technologies being tested for

54

cost-effectiveness were presented, including a background on the MMO River


System Master Plan and the Clean Water Act.

Some of the recommendations forwarded during the workshop include:

Ensuring that cost-effective technologies are available. This is


especially important since regular gold smelting shops are willing to
invest only as much as Php100,000-300,000 for anti-pollution devices,
while informal or small gold smelting refineries could only afford less
expensive technologies (Php8,000 or below);

Organizing the gold smelting industry and becoming an affiliate of the


Meycauayan Jewelry Industry Organization for better negotiating
position with LGUs and other regulatory agencies in terms of access to
technical assistance and funding to improve their industrys
environmental compliance to quality standards;

Strict monitoring and enforcement of compliance rules/standards by


the LGUs and regulatory agencies such as the DENR-EMB;

Improving system operations (lesser bureaucracy) and provision of


additional incentives (tax, access to training or loans) in the
registration procedure to encourage informal industry players to
register, which can consequently help in the monitoring and
enforcement of environmental laws and industry compliance; and

55

Organizing a campaign among members of the jewelry making


industry to use only raw materials from gold smelting shops that
comply with environmental standards.

2.3.3CosteffectiveTechnologies

The operations and processes of the artisanal gold smelting industry could be
designed and operated to control releases to very low levels which is within the
environmental standards. However, this could be very costly especially for the
small-scale industry operators and when regulation are not applied seriously could
not be sustainable in terms of assuring environmental and health quality of
communities where the industry is located. Thus, one of the major components of
the project is to pilot test low cost yet effective technology which could be easily
adopted and managed by the industry.
As discussed, three processes in the gold refinery industry were identified as
hazard points and hotspots: thermal heat, pollutants from air emission, and
wastewater. Two of these are being addressed through the design of cost-effective
technologies and processes under the supervision of the DOST- ITDI and UP
BIOTECH. First is the inclusion of a wet and dry scrubber in the process
involving the addition of nitric acid, and second is the treatment of copper nitrate
solution using three options: alkali precipitation plus solidification/stabilization,
electrolytic recovery of copper, and electrolytic recovery of silver. Figure 2.27
illustrates the cost effective technologies (boxes highlighted in blue) under
development for the gold smelting refineries.
These were also the best practices forwarded during the technology transfer
meeting of the gold smelting industry in November 4, 2008.

56

air
emissions

Scrubber

GOLDSMELTING
OPERATIONS

Quenching
SilverNitrate
Effluent

Electrolytic
SilverRecovery

CubasedSilver
Recovery
CopperNitrateEffluent

RecoveredSilver
treatedeffluent
treatedeffluent

treatedeffluent

treatedeffluent

RecoveredSilver

ALKALIIPPTION
SOLIDIFICATION/
STABILZTN

Electrolytic
CopperRecovery

Virosoil
Technology

cement
blocks

Recovered
Copper

soilsludge

Fig 2.27 Cost-effective Technologies Under Development

2.3.3.1Scrubber
Blacksmith Institute commissioned DOST- ITDI to design, construct and monitor
the prototype scrubber for the removal of air pollutants from the gold refining
facilities. The scrubber design is shown in Figure 2.37.
To monitor the performance of the scrubber, two pilot demonstration sites were
chosen by the project upon recommendation and approval of the local government
unit, the Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office, DENR-EMB R3
and DOST-ITDI.

57

The first scrubber was installed in the second week of May 2008 in Guevarras
Gold Smelting Workshop. The second was put up in Abacans Gold Smelting
Workshop in the second week of October 2008. These cooperators were chosen
based on the following criteria:

willingness to comply with the requirements of the DOST

willingness to present their facilities as showcase during promotion of


the project

willing to invest in the improvement of their facilities

facility is operational at least 80% of the time

practices good housekeeping and attends trainings given by DOST

works transparently during the project duration

Fig 2.28 DOST-ITDI Scrubber Design (DOST-ITDI, 2008)

58

The scrubbers are locally manufactured and are significantly cheaper to fabricate
and maintain. In February 14, 2009, Blacksmith Institute hired CRL Calabarquez
Corporation to do a stack emission and efficiency test on the DOST-designed
scrubber in Saluysoy, Meycauayan, Bulacan. The test involved the conduct of onsite emission testing of particulate matter (PM) such as lead, copper, nickel, and
silver. The test also included an equipment efficiency performance test and was
carried out on a single sampling run.
The measured concentrations were compared with the National Emission
Standards for Source Specific Air Pollutants (NESSAP) to determine its
compliance with the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999. Table 2.4 shows the
summary test results for the DOST-designed scrubber.
The results show that the gases emitted were within the DENR standards except
for HNO3 and NO2. There was also a significant decrease in the level of particulate
matter and sulfur dioxide as well as in the level of CO, NO2 and HNO3. Nitrogen
dioxide was below the standard level after scrubbing. Copper, nickel and silver
were not detected. Furthermore, there was a significant decrease in the level of
lead from 172 mg/L to 12 mg/L after the treatment process.
The results confirm that the scrubber system can remove toxic and hazardous
matter from the emission released during gold smelting operations. However, there
is still a need to improve the treatment efficiency of this technology with regards
to the removal of nitric acid, CO and NO2.
To increase the efficiency of the scrubber in terms of removal of gaseous hazards,
the following modifications were suggested: 1) increase in scrubber height; 2)
charcoal used in dry scrubber must be dipped in sodium hydroxide per installation
in the dry scrubber; 3) increase in sodium hydroxide concentration to increase
neutralizing effect on the nitric acid released; 4) pH adjustment of the wet
scrubber solution; and 5) increase in the rated capacity of the blower to increase

59

sucking effect on the smoke generated during the smelting process. These
scrubbers were deemed cost-effective by the DOST-ITDI since the technology was
locally fabricated and the supplies and materials for its fabrication are locally
available. It is easy to operate and maintain because of its modular design. (see
Annex J for study report)
Table 2.4 Air Emission Test Results of the Dry and Wet Scrubbers at the Guevarras Gold Smelting
Workshop

EMISSION

INLET

Carbon monoxide
(mg/Ncm)
Particulate Matter
(mg/Ncm)
Nitrogen
dioxide
(mg/Ncm)
1132
Sulfur dioxide
(mg/Ncm)

44

Nitric acid (mg/Ncm)

1550

Total
Copper
(mg)
Total
Lead
(mg)
Total
Nickel
(mg)
Total
Silver
(mg)

NESSAP
STANDARD
(mg/Ncm)

OUTLET

32.1

20.9

500 as CO

52

7.1

150

2.5 (MDL)

10 (DLR)

977

2.5 (MDL)

10 (DLR)

16

1500

1337

1000

1000

Blank

F1

F2

Deducted

Detection
Limit

Blank

F1

F2

Deducted

Detection
Limit

ND

0.38

ND

0.37515

0.00383

ND

ND

ND

ND

0.00383

100

ND

173.1

ND

170.6805

0.0067

ND

13.24

ND

12.28842

0.0067

10

ND

0.075

ND

0.07396

0.00287

ND

ND

ND

ND

0.00287

20

ND

0.11

ND

0.10858

0.00574

ND

0.062

ND

0.05763

0.00574

2.3.3.2AlkaliPrecipitationand
Solidification/Stabilization
This study was undertaken by the UP BIOTECH with the purpose of identifying
ways to recover copper from the copper nitrate effluent of the gold smelting
refineries, which is the source of contamination of waterways from this industry, if

60

discharged untreated in the river system. The recovered copper from the
precipitation process will then be solidified/stabilized to transform it into useful
concrete blocks.
Figure 2.29 illustrates the alkali precipitation and solidification/stabilization
process. Sodium hydroxide is added to the copper nitrate effluent until pH is
stabilized. The copper will eventually precipitate as copper hydroxide, which will
be solidified/stabilized.

Treatment Option 1

Scrubber(s)
Used
Jewelry
Nitric

sodium

Gaseousemissions

Alkali
Precipitation

ThermalTreatment
Quenching
Silver
nitrate
effluent

CopperbasedSilver
Recovery

copper
hydroxide
CopperNitrate
Effluent

copper
hydroxide

Solidification/
Stabilization

CONCRETEBLOCKS
(mustpass
strength/leachingtest)

Fig 2.29 Alkali Precipitation and Solidification/Stabilization Process

2.3.3.3ElectrolyticRecoveryofCopper

Another forwarded recommendation to recover copper from copper nitrate effluent


is through electrolysis. Figure 2.30 shows the electrolytic recovery of copper for
gold smelting refineries. To date, this study had already determined the

61

T
R
E
A
T
E
D

E
F
F
L
L
U
E
N

electrolytic conditions (operating current and electrolysis time) and had evaluated
the effluents DENR compliance in terms of pH, copper and other metals, as well
as initial cost analysis.
As reflected in Table 2.30, the electrolysis removal efficiency is 99.98% and its
effluent final metal concentration is 1.33 ppm, a concentration that is DENRstandard compliant.
Scrubber(s)
Used
Jewelry
Nitric

Treatment Option 2

Gaseousemissions

ThermalTreatment
Quenching

Silver
nitrate
effluent

Power

Recovered
Copper
Metal

CopperNitrate
Effluent

CopperbasedSilver
Recovery

Electrolysis
TREATED
EFFLLUENT

Fig 2.30 Electrolytic Recovery of Copper Process Flow Diagram

Table 2.5 Evaluation of Electrolysis Performance

PARAMETER
Removal Efficiency of Copper
Final Metal Concentration
(ppm)
Process Conditions for
Optimum Copper Removal

ELECRODEPOSITION
99.98%
1.33
Charge Dose: 6.249 C/mg
Energy Requirement: 6.596Wh/kg-Cu

62

2.3.3.4ElectrolyticRecoveryofSilver
Figure 2.31 illustrates the electrolytic recovery of silver. Initial studies of the
process show massive silver-like particles on the electrode. An alternative analysis
for silver will also be done in the absence of AAS (Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy
lamp for silver).
Currently, studies are still being conducted to determine the process electrolytic
conditions and evaluate its compliance to DENR standards in terms of pH, silver
and other metal effluents. A cost analysis of the treatment is also being conducted.
Scrubber(s)
UsedJewelry
Additives
Nitric Acid

Gaseous emissions

ThermalTreatment
Quenching
Silver
nitrate
effluent

Treatment Option 3
+

Power

Recovered
Silver

Electrolysis

TREATED
EFFLLUENT

Fig 2.31 Electrolytic Recovery of Silver Process Flow Diagram

63

2.3.3.5ApplicationofVirosoilTM
Technology

Another proposed treatment of the gold smelting waste effluent is the use of
Virosoil. Virosoil is a granular soil-like material added to either soil or water that is
contaminated by pollutants such as toxic heavy metals, organics and
hydrocarbons. It binds metals tightly that they cannot be absorbed by the plants
or leached. It immobilizes organic metal contaminants as non-bioavailable,
environmentally inert forms. The application of Virosoil was found to be effective
in reducing copper concentration in the gold smelting effluent. (Figure 2.32)

Figure 2.32 XRF Analysis of Concentration of Cu as Concentration of Virosoil varies

Table 2.6 presents a summary of the treatments for gold smelting copper nitrate
effluents. Considering the treatment costs and its compliance to DENR standards,
the alkali precipitation and solidification/stabilization process presents itself as a
more viable option.

64

Table 2.6 Treatments of Gold smelting Copper nitrate effluent.

Type of Wastewater
Copper Nitrate
effluent (after Ag
recovery)
Initial Cu 32004000 ppm
Copper Nitrate
Effluent (after Ag
recovery) Initial
Cu 8,752 ppm
Copper Nitrate
Effluent (after Ag
recovery)

Treatment Option
Alkali precipitation/
Solidification/
Stabilization

Costing
P 1,300 per m3 for
alkali pptn*
(none yet for SS)

Remarks
DENR compliant for
Cu-not detected

Electrolytic recovery
of Cu

P466.49 per m3;


P66.00 per kg Cu
recovered**

Not DENR
compliant; Cu is 1.33
ppm

VIROSOIL
Technology (20%
solution)

P 7.00 per liter***

Silver Nitrate
Effluent

Electrolytic recovery
of Ag

ON-GOING

Not DENR
compliant; increase
time of contact still
being tested
ON-GOING

* Cost of alkali reagent only; excludes other operational costs and labor
** Cost of electricity only; excludes electrolysis set up
*** Cost of VIROSOIL only, excludes other operational costs and labor

2.3.4PolicyReforms

A policy review of the existing environmental ordinances and resolutions of MMO


local government units and their compliance to the Clean Water Act was
undertaken by Blacksmith Institute in partnership with the Department of Social
Forestry and Governance of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources, UPLB
and the Department of Social Development Services of the College of Human
Ecology, UPLB.
The review showed that most of the current environmental policies in the area
emphasize on solid waste management. Only Marilao and Obando have existing
policies on the management and protection of the river system since Meycauayan
has an omnibus environmental code, which does not, however, focuses on specific
activities for the management and protection of the river system. Also, since most
of the local policies were drafted before the Clean Water Act, there is then a need

65

to update the policies and attune it to the environmental issues of the MMORS
area.
The study revealed that both Meycauayan and Obando have local environmental
codes enacted before the Clean Water Act designed to address environmental
concerns pertaining to land, water, and air pollution. Marilao, for its part, has
enacted its local environmental code in 2008 and has implemented a number of
ordinances on solid waste management. This supports the findings of the earlier
policy review that these local environmental codes must be updated to include
recent national environmental laws especially the Clean Water Act. The
environmental codes and ordinances are not also synchronized, operating instead
as stand-alone policies which does not provide a comprehensive solution to the
pollution problem of the entire MMORS.
The codes were also seen as lacking in terms of the basic principles for the adoption
of most codes and ordinances. This include the lack of provisions for precautionary
approaches and the polluters pay principle (fees due to violators of the code), the
lack of provisions for an intensive public information and education program that
will inform and mobilize community sectors into action, and the codes failure to
articulate the need for a collaborative effort among civil society and other
concerned sectors as a strategy to addressing the problem of pollution.
The policy review conducted forwarded several recommendations:
1

Revision of the local environmental codes of Meycauayan and Obando


to incorporate the provisions of the Clean Water Act and other recent
national policies pertaining to the environment; and

Enactment of provincial, city, municipal and even barangay


ordinances that will address pressing water pollution issues along the
MMORS. Furthermore, these ordinances should include provisions for:
a) a punitive and reward system (through fines and levies) as

66

control mechanism against polluters;


b) adoption of a WQMA program that taps the industries located
along the MMORS;
c) adoption of an intensive, participatory public information and
education program;
d) institutionalization of the citizens suit mechanism as a way
to promote accountability among policy implementers;
e) coordination with the local government licensing offices in the
monitoring of small-scale, unregistered businesses that
contribute to water pollution among the MMORS;
f) budget support to activities geared to control and abates water
pollution in the MMORS; and
g) institutionalization of a body mandated to implement the
WQMA Action Plan at the municipal/city level.
The declaration of the MMO into a WQMA in May 2008 was seen as a crucial step
to harmonizing local ordinances and codes to address the pollution problem of the
MMO river system.
To date, two draft municipal/city resolutions have been made to help synchronize
policies in the various MMO WQMA areas. The first resolution emphasizes the
municipalitys/citys support to the WQMA and their commitment to streamlining
efforts to prevent and control pollution in the MMORS area. The second resolution
focuses on the formation of the multi-sectoral monitoring and enforcement team in
each municipality/city with its provisions on the teams composition, and duties
and responsibilities, fund appropriation, among others.
Last March 25, a policy review and synchronization workshop was conducted with
LGU representatives from the MMO WQMA areas and members of the WQMA
Board which includes DENR-EMB, LLDA, industry partners such as Coca-Cola
Bottlers Philippines and the Philippine Recyclers, Inc. During the said workshop,
three major concerns were prioritized particularly:

67

a) all WQMA LGUs to have a legal instrument that would stipulate their official
involvement and engagement in the WQMA Board;
b) all WQMA LGUs to have a legal instrument regarding the formation and duties
of their local Monitoring and Enforcement Team and creation of an implementing
rules and regulation on this;
c) for the WQMA Board to have a resolution regarding the financial management
in order to access funds needed for the implementation of the WQMA Action Plan
Since the draft resolutions regarding the first two concerns were already made, the
Board need to follow-up the LGUs regarding its passage in their localities. For the
financial management of WQMA Funds, an implementing rules and regulations
for the establishment and operation of the Area Water Quality Management Fund
under the Clean Water Act of 2004 (RA No. 9275) was already drafted through the
Capacity Development Project on WQMA of JICA in partnership with DENR.
The MMO WQMA Board agreed to adopt the said policy and develop a local
policy counterpart to support the IRR.
However, the project emphasized that these policies should be supported by strict
enforcement, regular monitoring, adequate funds, political will and technical
knowledge, in order to realize the objectives of the MMO WQMA to rehabilitate
the MMO River system.

2.3.5CapacityBuilding
&StrengtheningofWQMA
Board
After receiving technical assistance from JICA in 2007, the project area (MarilaoMeycauayan-Obando River System) was signed as a Water Quality Management
Area (WQMA) by virtue of DENR Administrative Order No. 7, Series of 2008
(DAO 07-2008). The presence of an active multi-sectoral group and water quality
68

monitoring data, paved the way for the transformation of the stakeholder group
into the Water Quality Management Board under the Philippine Clear Water Act,
way ahead of the target schedule.

The WQMA Board


As prescribed in Section 5. Functions of the Governing Board of DAO 07-2008, the
following are its tasks:
1

Prepare and publish on a regular basis a Water Quality Status Report


for the WQMA and submit a copy thereof to the EMB-Central Office
to be consolidated into the National Water Quality Status Report;

Formulate strategies to harmonize policies/regulations/local legislation


necessary for the effective implementation of R.A. No. 9275 in
accordance with those established in the Integrated Water Quality
Management Framework;

Review the initial WQMA Action Plan prepared by the EMB


Regional Offices concerned and draft a common and integrated
compliance plan. The Board shall consequently prepare and adopt an
Action Plan for the succeeding periods to be submitted to the EMB
Regional Offices concerned for review for subsequent approval by the
DENR Secretary;

Monitor and facilitate the compliance to the WQMA Action Plan by


the local government;

Coordinate relevant activities among its members and member agencies


and facilitate resolution of conflicts; and

Undertake complementary interventions for non-point sources,


considering their greater contribution to pollution.

The board is chaired and co-chaired by the Environmental Management Bureau


regional directors of DENR Region III and NCR. It has for its members the
Provincial Government of Bulacan; the city governments of Meycauayan, San
Jose del Monte, Valenzuela, Caloocan; the municipal governments of Marilao,
Obando and Sta. Maria; and representatives from the business, academe, and
NGOs and civil groups. A technical working group (TWG) is tasked to ensure the
participation of all stakeholders in the Governing Board.

69

Its first meeting was in July 31, 2008 in EMB Region III, San Fernando,
Pampanga. In this meeting, the board agreed on the following:

Election of an alternate representative by each Governing Board


member to act on their behalf

Conduct of a regular monthly meeting every last Thursday of the


month

Drafting of a set of rules that will define functional, procedural and


financial systems for the MMORS-WQMA Governing Board

In its second meeting in August 28, 2008, the Board drafted the governing rules.
During its third meeting in September 25, 2008, Blacksmith Institute presented
the initial results of the on-going baseline studies at that time. Blacksmith also
outlined possible measures to address the pollution problem using locallydeveloped technologies and best practices. During the meeting, the CEST-JICA
Project also presented their model on organization and planning. The draft of the
governing rules was approved in its fourth meeting in October 30, 2008. Regular
monthly meetings are being conducted by the WQMA Governing Board.
Since the boards organization, it has already crafted the MMO rehabilitation
action plan that will serve as a blueprint to the local government, the WQMA
Board and other concerned sectors in solving the pollution problem and
rehabilitating the MMO river system. (Table 2.7)

Table 2.7 MMO Rehabilitation Action Plan developed by the Board for the MMORS-WQMA.

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ACTIVITY /ACTION
PARTICIPATING SECTOR
1. REDUCING WATER POLLUTION (Short-term)
Mapping and inventory of wastes (domestic,
DENR, DTI, DARFU
commercial, industrial, agricultural, others)
Monitoring of effluent discharges and their
BFAR, DENR, LGUs
effects on aquaculture, industrial discharges,
health care/clinics etc.
Closing of dumpsite and formulating SWM
LGUs (SWMB and Engineers
plan
Office)
Monitoring and assessment of rivers, creeks
LGUs NIA, Irrigators Association,
and ground waters
EMB
Protecting river banks and constructing river
LGUs, DPWH
wallks, dredging
Monitoring occupational health and safety
NGOs
DepEd, NGOs, LGUs, DARFU,
Information, education and advocacy
industry sector board members
campaign (integration of concepts and
concerns in curriculum, field trips, plan visits,
dialogues)
Research (heavy metals on culture species)
BFAR, Bulacan State University
(BSU), Philippine Council for
Aquatic and marine Resources
Development (PCMRD),
Blacksmith Institute
Compliance monitoring of industries and
EMB, BFAR, DA
agriculture-related firms
Synergy concepts (implementing wastewater
WQMA Governing Board
facility)

Table 2.7 (CONTINUED)

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2. INFORMATION and EDUCATION (Short-Term)


Briefing and orientation on WQMA, creation
EMB, DepEd, NIA, BSU
of a TWG-IEC, integrating environmental
concerns in curriculum
Linis sapa, ilog, canal
CENRO
Short courses on health, toxicology, morbidity LGUs, CHO-III, PHO-PH, NGO,
business sector
Advocacy campaigns on protecting
DepEd, CHED-III, NGOs, CHO,
waterways, river banks/walls, public health,
LGUs, NIA, business sector
solid waste management, environment forum
Cleanliness and beautification programs
NGOs, schools, PTAs, student
organizations
3. CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT (Short-term)
Creating TWG-providing technical assistance
on WTF
Modular development and implementation
values education, river protection and
rehabilitation
4. OTHER ACTIVITIES/ACTIONS
Formulating relevant policies
Bamboo planting
Fund-raising (Concert for a Cause)
Passage of a local ordinance on water
resources management and conservation
Research on heavy metals reduction through
aquatic plan remediation; periodic
aquaculture activities

EMB, WQMA Governing Board


DepEd, school organizations,
PTAs, NGOs

NIA, NGOs, CENRO


CENRO
NGOs
CENRO
BFAR- Region III, BSU,
PCAMRD, Blacksmith Institute

Blacksmith Institute has been an active participant in the monthly WQMA Board
meeting particularly in updating the board about the project activities and
providing inputs in the implementation of the WQMA Action Plan. The table on
the succeeding pages shows the 100 days action plan and progress made by the
WQMA Board with the various partners which includes Blacksmith Institute.

The Board, together with Blacksmith Institute has also conducted a series of
internal trainings to strengthen its capacities in managing the organization,

72

particularly in terms of pertinent technical information such as the current status


of heavy metal pollution in the area, cost-effective technologies that industries can
adopt, risk communication, local health surveillance system and monitoring and
enforcement. The results of the baseline studies conducted by the project were
presented to the WQMA Board members and various local stakeholders.
In addition to these, a monitoring and enforcement training was conducted last
March 31 and April 1 in partnership with DENR-Environmental Management
Bureau Region III and Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office with
support from Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines (Meycauayan Plant) and Philippine
Recyclers, Inc.
This is a first of a series of training for the local M&E Teams of the MMO WQMA
localities aims to orient the team members on the importance and basic procedure
of the monitoring and enforcement activities in order to help achieve the goals of
the board to clean up the MMO River System.
All the municipalities and cities included in the MMO Water Quality Management
Area were represented. Representatives from each locality include members of
each localitys M&E Team: Environment Officer, Sanitation Officer, Municipal
Planning and Development Officer, volunteers from civil society and business
sector.
The first day covered discussions about the Clean Water Act, MMO WQMA action
plan and responsibilities, monitoring and enforcement component of the Clean
Water Act. The second day was devoted to an on-site sampling exercise where the
participants were trained on how and what to monitor. Filling up of a sample
monitoring form was also conducted including an actual sampling in Meycauayan
River and a tour of the treatment facility of the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in
Meycauayan.

Updates on the MMORS Water Quality Management Area

73

Project / Activity
A. Solid Waste Management
Collection of Garbage
B. Industrial Pollution
Inventory and Mapping of Industries
Monitoring / Effluent Sampling
Strict Enforcement of Environmental Laws
Pilot Project Negotiations on Centralized
Wastewater Treatment facilities
Pilot Projects on the ff:
a. Low cost air pollution control device for
Gold refining in Meycauayan
b. Mass Balance Studies in Tannery and
Gold Smelting Industries in Meycauayan
c. Mapping of Heavy Metals contaminants
in Public Areas in Meycauayan
d. Study of Heavy Metals on-going bioaccumulation in selected aquatic life forms
grown in MMO river fed fishpond
e. Perception, Attitude and Practices of
selected communities in Marilao and
Meycauayan towards toxic and hazardous
substances pollution from lead, gold
smelting and leather industries
f.Bio-gas Pilot Project for Livestock raisers
in MMO
C. Domestic Wastewater Management
Inventory of existing Septic tanks of formal
and informal settlers
D. Dredging of the River
Identification and assessment of proposed
disposal sites of dredging materials
E. River monitoring
F. Groundwater monitoring of selected sites
G. IEC

Responsible Agency / Office

Status

LGUs

Continuing

EMB, DTI, LGU, LLDA


and CDPWQM-JICA
EMB, LLDA, LGU
EMB, LLDA, LGU
EMB, LGUs, DOST, NGO
and Academe

Continuing

Blacksmith Institute, EMB,


LGU and DOST
Blacksmith Institute

On-going

Blacksmith Institute

completed

Blacksmith Institute, BFAR


and BSU

completed

Blacksmith Institute

completed

Blacksmith Institute, DOST


and LGU of MMO

On-going

LGUs

continuing

NGO, EMB, and LGUs

continuing

EMB, Blacksmith Institute


and LGUs
Blacksmith Institute
EMB, LGUs, Blacksmith,
Academe and industrial
partners

Continuing

Continuing
Continuing
Continuing

completed

Continuing
Continuing

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CHAPTER
SUMMARY&FUTURE
DEVELOPMENTS

3.1Summary
The role of the MMO river system as one of Bulacans primary water source is
emphasized in light of its present conditions. The industrial wastes dumped into its
waters do not just have a direct effect on the aquatic life, but it also impacts the
health of Bulacans residents. The thriving gold smelting industry, while it reaps
economic benefits for the province, is identified as one of the major contributors to
the pollution of the waters of the MMO. Heavy metal contamination as a result of
the dumping of gold smelting effluents into the waters cannot be discounted.
Efforts directed to save the waters of the MMO and safeguard environmental and
human health must be pursued. These include the development and adoption of
technologies aimed to improve industrial practices in terms of wastewater
treatment and occupational health; structural reforms that will lay down
necessary policies and development goals for the protection of the MMO river
system, strengthen organizations and stakeholder groups, and harmonize local
government environmental efforts; raising awareness among the community
members and capacity-building of institutions and stakeholder groups.
The project was carried out according to its specified scope and schedule. The
outputs, outcomes and effects and impacts of the study are presented in this
section.

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3.1.1Outputs

Baseline information on the condition of the MMO river system, industrial


operations and practices and community awareness were obtained. These included
a river quality monitoring study and biota set-up and monitoring, mass balance
study of the gold smelting industry, mapping of contaminated areas in the
communities, and an inquiry on the occupational health of workers and the
knowledge and perception of the communities on heavy metals contamination.
Cost-effective technologies were also pilot-tested to serve as demonstration to the
industry and community that complying with environmental standards could be
beneficial to the business as well as the community and the environment.
In addition to this, an IEC plan was also designed to disseminate the results of
these studies to the public and concerned stakeholders, namely the industrial
workers, industry owners and medical practitioners. From which IEC materials
were drafted to be used as mechanism for awareness-raising. Alongside this, cost
effective technologies have been designed and explored for adoption of the
industries.
The project has also undertaken the consultations and workshops to identify
structural reforms that will enable local governments to be more active in the
conservation of the MMO river system. Municipal resolutions for Meycauayan,
Marilao and Obando have been drafted as a result of the policy reviews/analyses of
the existing government policies and rules. Capability building activities were also
conducted in order to raise awareness and technical knowledge of the stakeholders
on remediating and protecting the river system.

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3.1.2 Outcomes,EffectsandImpacts
The project, in the course of its implementation, has managed to conduct a
comprehensive study on the conditions of the Marila0-Meycauayan-Obando area
as far as heavy metal pollution is concerned. The baseline studies conducted have
provided significant information on the interplay between the economic activities
and its environmental and health consequences. Evidently, these studies have
also guided the project in drafting appropriate intervention strategies that will
mobilize sectors and enjoin a community-wide concern on the issue of pollution.
The project was instrumental in laying down the necessary structural and political
reforms that will not only address the problem in the short-term, but also
institutionalize the economic, political, structural and technological mechanisms
that will ensure sustained action on the problem of pollution in the MMO river
system.
By utilizing a harmonious collaboration with key players, the project has managed
to address the key concerns of each sector: cost-effective technologies for the
industries, a more empowered and well-informed labor force on the hazards of
heavy metal exposure, a more educated public on the consequences of heavy metal
pollution, a more equipped group of health care workers in the area of heavy metal
contamination cure and prevention, an organized political body that will oversee
the implementation of necessary reforms, and a healthier MMO river system for
the entire province of Bulacan.

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3.2SuggestionsforFutureDevelopment
It is suggested that the Remediation of the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando Water
Quality Management Area be a continuing project of ADBs PDA to sustain the
gains made from the pilot project. These pilot project gains include the formation
of a strong stakeholder group, pilot testing of cost-effective anti- pollution
technologies, conduct of environmental studies, and start-up of mobilization of the
industry sector to help in controlling pollution at source.
The proposed project aims to reduce the risk to human health and economic
success of the river basin while also protecting the environment and key natural
resources. Project strategies include the actual remediation of the river system
and implementation of a long-term river management strategy. Some of the
suggested activities include physical clean-up and infrastructure development for
river remediation such as river clean-up and remediation, construction of common
wastewater treatment facility or adoption of cost-effective anti-pollution
technologies and engineering designs by the industry, riverbank stabilization,
implementation of a comprehensive solid waste management program, zoning and
relocation of industries.

Other support programs include strengthening

monitoring and enforcement and continuous environmental assessment, capability


building for institutions and industry and community organizations, occupational
and community health surveillance system, IEC and organizational development.

78