MAYNILAD Water Services, Inc. has allocated more than P53.4 billion to install new sewer lines spanning up to 425 kilometers starting next year until the end of its concession in 2037 to ensure the provision of sewerage services for its customers in the west zone.

“Sewer pipes have to be laid at a lower depth compared to water pipes — some as deep as fourteen meters below ground level — so wastewater projects take a longer time to complete,” said Randolph T. Estrellado, Maynilad chief operating officer, in a statement on Wednesday.

He warned that the installation of the sewer network may cause some inconvenience to motorists.

“To minimize traffic congestion in our project sites, we will use trenchless technology where feasible, although said technology will significantly increase the cost to install the sewer network,” he said.

Maynilad said the new sewer lines, to be laid in various portions of the west concession from Caloocan to Cavite over the next 18 years, will enable the company to catch wastewater generated by its over 9.6 million customers, and convey it to sewage treatment plants.

It said about 20% of Maynilad’s water-served population are currently connected to the sewer network. The share came from only 6% before the privatization of MWSS operations in 1997, Maynilad said, adding that those that are unconnected are provided septic tank cleaning services by Maynilad.

Maynilad said it is now laying sewer lines in Valenzuela, Cavite City, Las Piñas, and in barangays Cupang and Tunasan in Muntinlupa. It recently completed sewerage projects such as the those in Pasay and Parañaque.

The company said under its approved business plan, it still has to spend almost P200 billion for wastewater projects from 2019 until the end of the concession period in 2037.

“With the invaluable assistance of local government units and the relevant government agencies, we can facilitate completion of our sewerage projects despite the difficulties posed by right-of-way conflicts and lack of land for treatment facilities. Only by working together can we truly realize the goal of rehabilitating the Manila Bay,” said Ramoncito S. Fernandez, Maynilad president and chief executive officer.

The west zone concessionaire operates and maintains 588 kilometers of sewer lines and 22 wastewater facilities that have a combined treatment capacity of about 664,000 cubic meters per day.

Maynilad’s statement on its capital outlay to install new sewer lines comes after it filed a motion for consideration on the Supreme Court decision to impose a P921 million fine on the company for failing to connect all existing sewage lines to the available sewerage system within five years from the effectivity of the Clean Water Act, or from May 6, 2004.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) has a 52.8% stake in Maynilad. MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT). Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld. — Victor V. Saulon