BACOLOD CITY -- Negros Occidental-based sugar refiner Victorias Milling Company (VMC) has bared plans to invest more than PHP200 million in new structures and modern technological processes to address environmental concerns and ensure operational efficiency at a global standard.
“We are taking action on the environmental issues in both our sugar production operation at the VMC mill and in our distillery plant in Manapla, all of which we expect to be operational by the third quarter of this year,” VMC president Minnie Chua said in a statement on Wednesday.
The VMC annual stockholders’ meeting was held recently at the Victorias Golf and Country Club in the northern Negros city of Victorias.
A new ash settling concrete pond with a six-foot-high enclosure has been commissioned to augment the performance of existing settling ponds along with anti-pollution control devices in the boilers.
This is expected to improve water quality being circulated in the boilers which will correspondingly result in a more efficient operation and reduce ash emission. The project is underway and expected to operate before the end of the first quarter.
VMC also added a new 40m x 102m bagasse shed that can hold some 12,000 metric tons of bagasse and includes a conveying system to handle the piling and retrieval of bagasse.
The fully enclosed shed is expected to minimize bagasse particles from being carried by the wind and will also prevent deterioration of the bagasse during heavy downpours.
A new collection area for clear water discharge from the raw house mills and the refinery is also being set-up. Called the “sweet water storage pond,” this 7,400- square meter facility will be lined with high-density polyethylene and can store over 23,000 cubic meters of water discharge.
As part of the zero-waste program, the collected water from the pond will be re-used as make-up water for the new ash settling pond, which in turn will minimize the amount of wastewater that will be processed in the water treatment facility.
At the distillery in adjacent Manapla town, five open lagoons with a holding capacity of over 57,000 cubic meters will be established and will serve as a biological treatment area for the slops.
Expected to be turned-over before the next milling season, the new lagoons will replace the current existing natural terrain lagoons, one of which has already been decommissioned as work progresses.
VMC will also spearhead the establishment of the multi-partite monitoring team involving local government officials, environmental agencies, and the members of the communities to work hand-in-hand in preserving the environment. (PNA)