Maynilad eyes future waste-to-energy projects

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By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor

MAYNILAD Water Services, Inc. is looking at waste-to-energy as a possible future venture once the technology has advanced to make the project financially feasible, company officials said.

“We’re looking at waste-to-energy,” Antonio F. Garcia, vice-president at Maynilad and head of wastewater management, said on Wednesday as the company invited media and the water regulatory office to look at its latest sewage treatment plant (STP) in Malibay, Pasay City.

Although the project is not yet part of the Maynilad’s latest five-year business plan ending in 2021, Mr. Garcia said it remains part of its continuous study to make STP operations more efficient.

“This has something to do with the operating expense of the facility,” he said. “So while we are continuing expanding, we’re also continuing to look for technologies… that would lower the operating cost of our system.”

Mr. Garcia said Maynilad considers wastewater as a resource and has been using the processed water collected from households for its own use for now. In the future, he was looking at offering the processed water to the nearby airport.

“We’re going to venture only into waste-to-energy if the investment that we’re going to put could be recouped by the savings that we’ll be getting from reduction of power [of the] wastewater treatment plant,” he said.

For now, Mr. Garcia said the company was looking at three strategic sites within the concession area wherein a centralized solid waste processing facility could be built to generate enough power for its own use. Power costs account for about 60% of an STP’s operating expense.

Sought for comment, Randolf T. Estrellado, Maynilad chief operating officer, said: “The business plan we submitted does not yet include waste-to-energy projects essentially because the level of technology today and the kind of wastewater that we’re getting, which is from the drainage… It’s not as concentrated.”

At present, Maynilad operates and maintains three water treatment plants, 20 wastewater plants, 28 pumping stations, 32 reservoirs, eight mini-boosters, 30 online boosters and 7,675 kilometers of water pipelines. Maynilad’s customer base has expanded to 1,358,758 service connections or more than 9.4 million people.

Maynilad is an agent and contractor of Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for the west zone of the greater Manila area. Its coverage spans certain areas in Manila, Quezon City and Makati City. It also covers Caloocan, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon. Outside Metro Manila, the company covers the cities of Cavite, Bacoor and Imus, and the towns of Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario — all in Cavite province.

These facilities entail costs, which find their way into the customer’s water bill. The water concessionaire is required to secure approval of the MWSS regulatory office for the budget it plans to allocate for sewerage expansion and sanitation.

For the 2017-2021 period, Maynilad has committed to spend P37 billion, followed by a bigger budget for 2022-2037 at P101.4 billion to fully cover the sewerage and sanitation requirements within its concession area.

Mr. Garcia said the plan is for each municipality within Maynilad’s concession area to have at least one sewage treatment facility. He said the decentralized location of the STPs minimizes problems in implementation.

Maynilad’s water reclamation facility in Pasay City serves the areas of Malibay, Maricaban and Villamor in Pasay City, and San Roque and Bangkal in Makati City.