G.R. No. 165299 - Pacific Steam Laundry, Inc. v. Laguna Lake Development Authority
[G.R. NO. 165299 : December 18, 2009]
PACIFIC STEAM LAUNDRY, INC., Petitioner, v. LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
This is a Petition for Review 1 of the Decision2 dated 30 June 2004 and the Resolution dated 8 September 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 75238.
Petitioner Pacific Steam Laundry, Inc. (petitioner) is a company engaged in the business of laundry services. On 6 June 2001, the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) endorsed to respondent Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) the inspection report on the complaint of black smoke emission from petitioner's plant located at 114 Roosevelt Avenue, Quezon City.3 On 22 June 2001, LLDA conducted an investigation and found that untreated wastewater generated from petitioner's laundry washing activities was discharged directly to the San Francisco Del Monte River. Furthermore, the Investigation Report4 stated that petitioner's plant was operating without LLDA clearance, AC/PO-ESI, and Discharge Permit from LLDA. On 5 September 2001, the Environmental Quality Management Division of LLDA conducted wastewater sampling of petitioner's effluent.5 The result of the laboratory analysis showed non-compliance with effluent standards particularly Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Oil/Grease Concentration and Color Units.6 Consequently, LLDA issued to petitioner a Notice of Violation7 dated 30 October 2001 which states:
THE GENERAL MANAGER
PACIFIC STEAM LAUNDRY, INC.
114 Roosevelt Avenue, Brgy. Paraiso
Subject: Notice of Violation
This refers to the findings of the inspection and result of laboratory analysis of the wastewater collected from your firm last 5 September 2001. Evaluation of the results of laboratory analysis showed that your plant's effluent failed to conform with the 1990 Revised Effluent Standard for Inland Water Class "C" specifically in terms of TSS, BOD, Oil/Grease and Color. (Please see attached laboratory analysis)
In view thereof, you are hereby directed to submit corrective measures to abate/control the water pollution caused by your firm, within fifteen (15) days from receipt of this letter.
Furthermore, pursuant to Section 9 of Presidential Decree No. 984, PACIFIC STEAM LAUNDRY, INC. is hereby ordered to pay a penalty of One Thousand Pesos (
P1,000.00) per day of discharging pollutive wastewater to be computed from 5 September 2001, the date of inspection until full cessation of discharging pollutive wastewater and a fine of Five Thousand Pesos ( P5,000.00) per year for operating without the necessary clearance/permits from the Authority.
Very truly yours,
CALIXTO R. CATAQUIZ
Petitioner submitted its application for LLDA Clearance and Discharge Permit and informed LLDA that it would undertake the necessary measures to abate the water pollution.8 On 1 March 2002, a compliance monitoring was conducted and the result of the laboratory analysis9 still showed non-compliance with effluent standards in terms of TSS, BOD, Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), and Oil/Grease Concentration. It was reported that petitioner's wastewater treatment facility was under construction. Subsequently, another wastewater sampling was conducted on 25 April 2002 but the results10 still failed to conform with the effluent standards in terms of Oil/Grease Concentration.
Meanwhile, on 15 April 2002, a Pollution Control and Abatement case was filed against petitioner before the LLDA. During the public hearing on 30 April 2002, LLDA informed petitioner of its continuous non-compliance with the effluent standards. Petitioner requested for another wastewater sampling which was conducted on 5 June 2002. The laboratory results11 of the wastewater sampling finally showed compliance with the effluent standard in all parameters. On 9 August 2002, another public hearing was held to discuss the dismissal of the water pollution case and the payment of the accumulated daily penalty. According to LLDA, the penalty should be reckoned from 5 September 2001, the date of initial sampling, to 17 May 2002, the date LLDA received the request for re-sampling. Petitioner manifested that its wastewater discharge was not on a daily basis. In its position paper12 dated 25 August 2002, petitioner prayed that the Notice of Violation dated 30 October 2001 be set aside and the penalty and fine imposed be reckoned from the date of actual hearing on 15 April 2002.???ñr?bl?š
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