The Republic Cement & Buildings Materials Inc., (RCBM) Bulacan Plant secured its ECC on July 3, 1996. However, the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) limited its project’s processing methods and daily production rate. As such, an EPRMP was submitted for an ECC amendment application for the expansion of RCBM’s 1.5 MMTPY Finish Mill 6 in Barangay Minuyan, Norzaragay, Bulacan. This project will substantially improve the cement production of RCBM and help meet the increasing market demand for urbanization. It will also contribute to the current development thrusts of the Philippines by increasing national and local economic development and pushing forward the sustainable development agenda.
As part of the preparation of the EPRMP, Aperçu Consultants Inc. assessed the existing cement plant operations as well as engaged in the following activities:
Geology & Land Use
Geomorphology, topography and drainage, and regional tectonic features were assessed to see any geology related impacts during the construction and operation phases of the project expansion.
The compatibility of the project with the existing land use, existing land tenure issues, ancestral domains, and protected areas covered by presidential proclamations were assessed to ensure compliance with the national government as well as the local government and community.
The different soil types and their distribution in Norzaragay were identified. Soil quality was tested in the abandoned used oil waste treatment facility in the RCBM Bulacan Plant. Results showed that the presence of metals, hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyl compounds (PCBs), and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) were all minimal and did not require remediation. Annual monitoring was recommended to determine any accidental spills or leaks that may affect soil quality as well as ensure soil quality still meets the DENR MC 2017-03 standards, Dutch Target Standard Intervention Values, and Canadian Standards.
Terrestrial Wildlife and Vegetation
Biodiversity assessments were done to improve existing information on the biodiversity of flora, fauna, and aquatic biota in the RCBM Bulacan Plant area; determine ecological statue of flora, fauna, and aquatic resources in the area; update relevant maps of the area particularly the remaining vegetation; and recommend strategies to protect and rehabilitate the area in line with the RCBM mission, vision, and advocacy.
This module included the assessment of the hydrogeological setting and existing aquifers, flood and drought occurrences, rainfall and stream flow measurements, water availability, and depletion of water resources or competition in water use. Results were used in the evaluation of project impacts, mitigating measures, and monitoring plan.
Water samples consisted of groundwater, surface water, and effluents. Samples were collected within the project site as well as its immediate vicinity. Additional stations along Angat River were taken to serve as control station due to its distance from the site. Parameters assessed included pH, temperature, salinity, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, total dissolved solids, oil and grease, phosphates, ammonia, chromium, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, total coliform, and fecal coliform. Sources of water degradation due to the construction and operational phases were identified and minimized. It was recommended to continue the quarterly monitoring plan.
The physical characteristics and biological communities in Angt River, Pintong Pala-pala Creek, and the Reservoir were assessed. The freshwater ecology survey provided information on the current conditions of the freshwater environment and helped determine potential impacts from the construction and operation phases of the project. Surveys involved assessments of in-situ water quality and various aquatic communities. Monitoring was recommended in order to comply with environmental regulations.
Existing climate conditions were assessed parameters included: climate, rainfall, surface temperature, relative humidity, cloud cover, surface winds, regional climate and prevailing meteorology, wind pattern, tropical cyclones, and surface temperature. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the RCBM plant was calculated in terms of direct CO2 emissions, indirect CO2 emissions, and CO2 from combustion of biomass.
Existing ambient air quality at the site was determined as well as the ambient air incremental impacts of the cement plant through air dispersion modelling. Parameters assessed for these included: gaseous pollutants (i.e. SO2, NO2, CO, and NH3), particulates, trace metals, total suspended particulates, and particulate matter 10 (PM10). Mitigation measures and ambient air quality monitoring schemes were recommended to RCBM.
The existing sonic profile at the cement plant and its vicinities was determined. Noise impacts were assessed by comparing the results of the sound measurements and predicted sound level with the Environmental Quality Standards for Noise in General Areas and noise criteria during construction. Noise monitoring records from 2015-2018 were also analyzed to see which stations within the plant exceeded the DENR noise standards for Categories A (residential) and D (heavy industrial). Mitigating measures were recommended in order to reduce noise impacts.
Host Province and Municipality
The income, economic activities, mining, poverty profile, and development direction of the province of Bulacan was identified while population, indigenous peoples, economic activities, agriculture, tourism, social services, and education of the municipality of Norzaragay was determined.
Social Development Program
The RCBM Bulacan Plant employee profile was and social development and management programs were assessed. Results identified the local benefits of the project to the host LGU and community.
All routes in the RCBM plant were evaluated for the existing traffic situation during weekdays and weekends. The possible influx of vehicles due to the project may degrade the air quality in the area. Proper preventive and safety measures were enforced in order to reduce potential traffic incidents.
Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA)
The ERA involved: hazard identification, consequence analysis, frequency analysis, risk, risk assessment, and risk management. This process was done to identify potential risks to human health and safety. It also assessed the proposed safety management schemes to minimize if not eliminate such hazards and risks.
The amended Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for the project was issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on March 2020 with ECC Reference No. ECC-CO-1910-0030. The ECC is available at the following link.