SMC ramps up Tullahan River cleanup efforts, removes 168,000 MT of silt and trash to date

San Miguel Corporation is on track to more than double its daily dredging of silt and trash for its P1-billion Tullahan-Tinajeros river system cleanup project from 600 metric tons per day to 1,500 metric tons per day for the 11.5-km stretch it is working on.

This covers the initial sections 1-3 of the project from the mouth of the Manila Bay in Navotas City to Tinajeros Bridge, and sections 4-5 from Tinajeros Bridge to Potrero in Malabon and Valenzuela cities.

SMC’s five-year project covers the entire 27-km length of the Tullahan-Tinajeros river system.

SMC is also advancing the start of dredging at the tributary’s Malabon and Valenzuela sections, to boost government’s flood mitigation efforts before the rainy season sets in.

“We were able to average 1,000 metric tons per day last March to deliver our highest monthly dredging total so far. Currently, we are averaging 1,200 metric tons and we will gradually increase to 1,500 metric tons. With the arrival of our new, additional dredging equipment, we will also start dredging Sectors 4 and 5 where heavier flooding was experienced during heavy typhoons last November 2020,” Ang said.

“Work on Sectors 4 and 5 involves more than just dredging to maintain its ideal depth. This part also involves widening parts of the river and removal of illegal structures that restrict the flow of water, especially during heavy rains. This is part of the dredging plan approved by DPWH,” he said.

Ang added: “We will need the support and cooperation of the local government units and other stakeholders to enable us to complete our task of rehabilitating the river and assisting in their flood mitigation efforts.”

As of April 13, 2021, Ang said that a total of 168,004 metric tons of silt and solid waste had already been removed from the river.

Last March, the company registered output of 29,555 metric tons, the highest since the project was started with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last June 2020.

For the 11.5-kilometer stretch, which is close to half of entire length of the 27-kilometer river system that goes all the way to the La Mesa Dam in Quezon City, the company is targeting to dredge a total of 1.5 million metric tons of silt and solid waste.

“We’re adding more personnel and more equipment, and with this, we are confident that we will able to cover more ground in the coming months. This also prepares us for our planned dredging and cleanup of the Pasig River and major tributaries in Bulacan,” he said.

In preparation for these projects, Ang earlier disclosed it was acquiring an amphibious excavator for use in dredging shallow waters and for river widening. It is also acquiring a suction cutter dredger that can handle big volume throughput operations, such as required for cleaning up Pasig River.

SMC is in the middle of talks with government for the dredging of the Pasig River, as part of its proposal to invest P95.4 billion to build the Pasig River Expressway (PAREX).

For the Pasig River cleanup, SMC will utilize two new dredging equipment capable of removing 50,000 metric tons of silt and solid waste per month, or 600,000 per year for the next five years.

The company will work with the DENR, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and other concerned government units for the project.

Ang said that the company will also subject tributaries belonging to the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System (MMORS) to river channel improvement.

The Alipit or Taliptip River, Sta. Maria River, and the Meycauayan River will be dredged, cleaned, and widened under the program.