What is new under DENR Administrative Order No. 2016-08?

Almost everything is new, and we dare say – for better implementation. The administrative order details the Water Quality Guidelines (WQG) and General Effluent Standards (GES) of 2016.

The scope and coverage of DENR Administrative Order or DAO Number 2016-08 already includes all water bodies in the country – fresh waters, marine waters and groundwater. The previous DAO did not include groundwater.

The term WQG is new, and shall be used to ‘classify the water bodies, determine time trends, and evaluate stages of deterioration or enhancement in water quality’. The WQG is also projected to be a basis for designating Water Quality Management Areas (WQMA).

The classification of water bodies is in table format in the new administrative order. The table format allow for easy understanding and implementation of both implementing and complying organizations and persona.

WQMA is also new – it defines areas that ‘share common interest or face development programs.’ The WQMA allows the national government to share water quality maintenance with local government units and even registered non-government organizations.

To reflect the wider scope of the DAO, the term effluent is defined to cover discharges from known sources from manufacturing and industrial plants, including commercial and institutional establishments. The 1990 DAO definition of the term effluent covered only wastewater from manufacturing, industrial and treatment plants.

GES is also new, as the term includes ‘any legal restriction or limitation on quantities, rates, and/or concentrations or any combination thereof, of physical, chemical or biological parameters of effluent which a person or point source is allowed to discharge into a body of water or land’.

The GES is applicable to all industry categories, and defined according to the classification of the receiving water body.

The tables in the new DAO cover primary and secondary parameters. The secondary parameters are in separate tables for inorganics, metals and organics. It may be imperative for institutions to review college chemistry concepts, but the table showing significant parameters per industry category (Table 8) is very helpful. The listing of significant parameters for the rice/corn milling sector, for example, includes BOD and Total Suspended Solids. The organization then refers to Table 3 – primary paramaters, and locates the allowable units under the water body classification that the rice/corn establishment discharges to.

All in all, the DAO is perceived to be stricter because of the level of detail in the Tables. Stricter is new too – for better implementation.


1. DENR Administrative Order on Revised Effluent Regulations of 1990, revising and amending the effluent regulations of 1982

2. DENR Administrative Order No. 2016-08: Water Quality Guidelines and General Effluent Standards of 2016 implements Section 19c and 19f of Republic Act (RA 9275, otherwise known as the Philippine Water Act of 2004, and Executive Order 192 (Providing the Reorganization of the Department of Environment, Energy and Natural Resources, renaming it as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources), dated June 10, 1987.

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