Presidential Decree No. 856/Code on Sanitation of the Philippines
WEPA Water Environment Partnership in Asia

Presidential Decree No. 856/Code on Sanitation of the Philippines

Year of Enactment and Implementation Enacted in December 23, 1975
Purpose To prescribe sanitation requirements for food establishments and refuse collections and disposal system of cities and municipalities
Control Area Nationwide
  • Empower the  Department of Health with the following powers and functions:
    1. Undertake the promotion and preservation of the health of the people and raise the health standards of individuals and communities throughout the Philippines
    2. Extend maximum health services to the people in rural areas and provide medical care to those who cannot afford it by reason of poverty
    3. Develop, administer and coordinate various health activities and services which shall include public health, preventive, curative and rehabilitative programs, medical care, health and medical education services
    4. Upgrade the standards of medical practice, the quality of health services and programs to assure the people of better health services
    5. Assist local health agencies in developing health programs including medical care, and promote medical and public health research
    6. Issue permits to establish and operate government and private hospitals, clinics, dispensaries, schools of nursing, midwifery, and other para-medical course, puericulture centers, clinical laboratories and blood banks
    7. Prescribe standard rates of fees for health, medical, laboratory, and other public health services
  • The Secretary of the Department of Health is empowered to promulgate rules and regulations and standards for the proper implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the Code which include National Drinking Water Standards.
  • In response to Chapter I Section 4 of the Code of Sanitation of the Philippines and in consideration of the newly promulgated 1993 WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality, the revision of the water quality standard established in 1978 was undertaken.  The standard is a product of the collaborative efforts of various government agencies and is designed to guide waterworks officials, operators of water supply systems; both government and private entities, health and sanitation authorities and the general public in establishing the requirements for safe and potable water.
  • The standard cover requirements of the acceptable values for the determined parameters in measuring water quality
  • The parameters include the microbiological, physical, chemical and radiological compositions of the water
  • The standard also delineate values established in conforming with the medical and health implications of the parameters as opposed to values established purely to satisfy aesthetic requirements
  • Table 2.1 to Table 2.6 and the standard parameters and values for drinking-water quality

Standard parameters and values for drinking-water quality

Table 2.1 Standard Values for Bacteriological Quality
Source and mode of supply Bacteria Standard value (No./100 ml)
a. all drinking-water supplies under all circumstances (Level I, II, III, bottled water and Emergency Water supplies) E.coli or thermotolerant (fecal) coliform bacteria 0
b. Treated water entering the distribution system E.coli or thermotolerant (fecal) coliform bacteria 0
c. Treated water in the distribution system E.coli or thermotolerant (fecal) coliform bacteria 0
  Total Coliforms must not be detectable in any 100 mL sample. In case of large quantities where sufficient samples are examines, it must not be presented in 95% of samples taken throughout any 12-month period

Table 2.2 Standard Value for Biological Organisms
Constituent Permissible limit
Total count/mL 10

Table 2.3 Standard Values for Physical and Chemical Quality: Health Significance
A. Inorganic Constituents
Constituent Maximum Level (mg/L)
Antimony 0.005
Arsenic 0.01
Barium 0.7
Boron 0.3
Cadmium 0.003
Chromium 0.05
Cyanide 0.07
Fluoride 1.0
Lead 0.01
Mercury (total) 0.001
Nitrate as NO3- 50
Nitrate as NO2- 3
Selenium 0.01
B. Organic Constituents (Pesticides)
Constituent Maximum Level (μg/L)
Aldrin & Dieldrin 0.03
Chlordane 0.2
Endrin 0.2
Heptachlor and Heptachlor epoxide 0.03
Lindane 2
Methoxychlor 20
Petroleum oils & grease nil
Toxyphane 5
2,4 – D 30
2,4,5 – T 9

Table 2.4 Standard Values for Physical and Chemical Quality: Aesthetic Quality
Constituent Maximum Level (mg/L)
Taste Unobjectionable
Odor Unobjectionable
Color 5 TCU
Turbidity 5 NTU
Aluminum 0.2
Chloride 250
Copper 1
Hardness 300 (as CaCO3)*
Hydrogen Sulfide 0.05
Iron 1
Manganese 0.5
pH 6.5 – 8.5
Sodium 200*
Sulfate 250
Total Dissolved Solids 500
Zinc 5*

Table 2.5 Standard Values for Disinfectants and Disinfectant By-Products
Constituent Maximum Level (mg/L)
a. Disinfectant
Chlorine (residual) 0.2 – 0.5
b. Disinfectant By-products
Bromate 0.025
Chlorite 0.2
2,4,6 trichlorophenol 0.2
Formaldehyde 0.9
Phenolic substances 0.001
Bromoform 0.1
Dibromochloromethane 0.1
Bromodichloromethane 0.06
Chloroform 0.2

Table 2.6 Chemicals of No Health Significance at Concentrations Normally found in Drinking-Water

Table 2.7 Standard Values for Radiological Constituents
Constituent Activity Level (Bq/L)
gross alpha activity 0.1
gross beta activity 1

The foregoing standard values are derived from the WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality of 1993 which are based on and reflect the latest available scientific facts, knowledge and experience worldwide.

Source: 1993 Philippine National Standard for Drinking Water, Published by DOH

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