SUAL–Soil analysis conducted by the Bureau of Soil (BoS) at its laboratory in Region IV A belied allegations that ash from the 1,200 megawatt Sual Coal-Fired Power Plant here is to be blamed for unproductive rice lands in Barangay Pangascasan here.
Farmers in the barangay have pointed to the power plant operated by the company Team Energy as the source and cause for failure of rice seedlings planted during the first cropping season to produce any grain.
The soil analysis was requested by the municipal agriculture office of Sual headed by Florencia Guanzon, municipal agriculturist, and Team Energy.
The farmers observed that the leaves of their rice plants turned reddish and that the seeds of the crop did not yield any grain when harvested.
Results of the BoS analysis, using soil samples from the three-hectare plant submitted to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Laguna, however, indicated that it was negative of ash.
Fe Guanzon, municipal agriculturist, noted that the soil in the area has also been abused with farmers not allowing it to rest between crop seasons and using unsuitable fertilizer.
The agriculture office said the cause of the unproductive rice plants was the emergence of bacterial leaf blight (BLB) that eventually destroyed the plants.
The BLB was spawned by prolonged rains and winds caused by the southwest monsoon in August, the time when the rice plants were in their flowering stage.
Prior to the release of the results of the analysis, Froilan Romualdez III, senior manager of TeaM Energy, already stressed that their operations adhere to all standards set by the DENR.
Romualdez said the plant closely monitors its environmental performance to ensure full compliance with standards of the DENR and all pertinent laws.
He added that the plant is equipped with a state-of-the-art Electrostatic Precipitator (ESP), an environmental device that prevents fly ash emissions from being released into the atmosphere, running 24/7 with 99.5 per cent efficiency.
At the same time, the plant maintains a 143-hectare ash disposal area which is also monitored to ensure that ash does not flow to the adjacent river even during rainy days.