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Negros Occidental ethanol plant official says foul odor being addressed

BACOLOD CITY, April 28 -– San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. (SCBI) plant manager Jojo Salvador said they are finding ways to address the problem on the foul odor coming from the ethanol plant.

Salvador said the pungent smell comes from the plant’s waste water lagoon which has untreated water with high acidity.

Heavy rains in recent weeks caused the lagoon to overflow and the waste water seeped into the canal system of the city and went directly to the sea.

Salvador said San Carlos City Mayor Gerardo Valmayor Jr. called their attention after residents complained about the foul odor.

“As a temporary solution, we blocked the canal and rerouted it and pumped it to the unused fish pond of Rep. Julio Ledesma IV which is 40 hectares beside the plant itself,” he added.

Salvador said they voluntarily stopped operations the other week to solve the problem on the overflow of the waste water lagoon.

He said that without rains, the decomposition process will be faster, adding that they have five ponds of fully decomposed material and they intend to fill 20 more ponds to solve the overflow.

"As a long term solution, we plan to put up additional anaerobic digester to treat our waste water," Salvador said.

SCBI’s sugarcane-based ethanol and co-generation plant costs P3 billion and projected to process daily a maximum of 1,500 tons of sugarcane to produce 125,000 liters of bioethanol and generate a rated capacity of around 7.4 megawatts.

Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, a former mayor of San Carlos City, said Monday the SCBI management is "taking steps to rectify the situation hence the Department of Environment and Natural Resources should continue to monitor the condition in the affected area."

"Only when it can be determined that the problem cannot be resolved, do we call for its closure," the vice governor added. (PNA)

LAP/NLG/EYA

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