‘No cracks in Angat Dam’

Posted at 09/14/2009 3:39 PM | Updated as of 09/14/2009 3:39 PM

MANILA – The Angat Dam management assured the public that the dam does not have any cracks, dispelling the feared disaster that could happen if the dam crumbles.

During a survey of the Angat Dam in Bulacan on Sunday, local officials and the dam’s management showed some media members that the dam is safe.

The survey of the area, which took almost one hour, did not see signs that there is danger in the area.

“Sabi ng MWSS [Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System]... normal na merong seepage... pero walang crack,” said Neri Amparo, regional director of the Office of Civil Defense-Region 3.

Authorities have also pointed at the seepage from which the water is released from the dam.

But the Angat Dam management maintained that the seepage is normal in dams that are made of earth and rockfill. They also believe that the dam will last long.

“Kaya pang tumagal nito ng 50 years, except kung magkaroon ng earthquake,” remarked Romualdo Beltran of the dam's reservoir and management division, National Power Corp. (NPC).

Downplayed fears

On Saturday, the Sagip Sierra Madra Environmental Society expressed alarm that continuous rains could aggravate the reported seepage in the Angat Dam as a portion of the dam is located on the Marikina West Valley Fault Line.

The environmental group members feared the possibility of an earthquake that could cause the dam’s destruction and lead to a flashflood.

They noted that if the seepage expands, water will forcibly be released from the dam.

This could submerge 11 towns in water, namely Norzagaray, Angat, Bustos, San Rafael, Baliuag, Plaridel, Malolos, Calumpit, Paombong and Hagonoy in Bulacan, and Masantol in Pampanga.

In addition, the reported cracks in the dam pose a threat to the water supply in Metro Manila as 97 percent of its water supply comes from the dam.

The Angat Dam management, however, downplayed such fears.

NPC plant manager Rodolfo German said: “Matagal ng isyu yan... ginagawan nila ng dam remediation.”

“Nagkaroon ng 2 major earthquakes... wala kaming nakikitang signs na nag-deteriorate ang dam structure natin,” noted Jose Dorado, principal engineer from the MWSS.

Despite the continuous rains, the management said it is not yet time to release water from the dam because the water level is still safe. – With reports from Cecille Lardizabal, ABS-CBN News and Israel Malasa, ABS-CBN News