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Tuesday September 24, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday September 24, 2013 MYT 9:37:42 AM
by sheila sri priyaphotos by low boon tat
A GROUP of Petaling Jaya residents claimed that since 2008, houses with communal septic tanks have not been de-sludged by the authorities unless they were asked to do so.
They claim the situation occurred after the implementation of the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655).
What is supposed to be a normal routine has been stopped and residents said they have not been receiving monthly bills from Indah Water Konsortium (IWK).
Residents said their problem was unresolved despite attending numerous meetings with the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and other relevant authorities.
They claim services are no longer carried out on a scheduled basis.
Communal septic tanks
Houses that were built in the 1960’s and early 1970’s in Petaling Jaya have communal septic tanks.
In most cases, a communal septic tank is shared by three to seven houses.
It is usually located inside the compound of one of the houses or close by.
The then Petaling Jaya Authority (now known as MBPJ) was responsible for de-sludging the tanks.
When privatisation of the services took place in 1994, IWK took over the job and the house with the communal septic tank was billed.
Section 12 Resident Association deputy president Mahan Singh Gill said the problem only affected the older neighbourhoods.
“Most houses located in Section 1 to Section 18 in Petaling Jaya have communal septic tanks, and hundreds of houses are affected by this problem.
“Over the years, some house owners, when renovating their premises installed individual septic tanks,” said Mahan, adding that before the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655) was implemented, IWK billed the houses with the communal tank.
“The others residents sharing the communal tank would divide the payment among themselves,” said Mahan Singh.
However, since the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655) was implemented, the residents have not received any bills from IWK, he said.
“The residents have attended several meetings related to this issue organised by MBPJ, National Water Services Commission (SPAN) and IWK since 2010.
“However, the problem is still unresolved,” said Mahan Singh.
Section 12 resident Foong Kum Mun, 80, said he has a communal septic tank located in his house compound that often overflows.
“I have to call IWK each time this happens and they then come to clear the tank and issue me a bill,
“I prefer the old system where IWK will clear the communal septic tanks on a regular basis,” said Foong who has been affected by the situation for over five years.
Section 12 residents association committee member A. Rajasoorian said the present system was not practical.
“MBPJ must do something to resolve this problem. In the past it was the responsibility of the municipal council to de-sludge the septic tanks,” he said.
What the authorities say
MBPJ Health and Environment Department director Dr Chitra Devi N. Vadivellu said the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) is in charge of the matter.
When contacted, SPAN executive director (Head of Department) Mohd Ridhuan Ismail said since the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655) was implemented, IWK was required to obtain the permission of the land owner before it could de-sludge the septic tanks.
“In the past, these shared septic tanks were classified as the ‘sewerage system’ and IWK was able to de-sludge it.
“When the act was implemented, there was a change in the term and these tanks were classified as ‘communal septic tanks’ which meant public septic tanks,
“There are different guidelines to de-sludge public septic tanks compared to private septic tanks,
“Based on the new act, IWK would need the permission of the land owner and all the houses that shared the same communal tank before it can carry out its works and charge them,” said Mohd Ridhuan.
He urged all house owners who shared a communal tank to come to IWK and sign a standard agreement which will enable them to carry out the de-sludging works on a scheduled basis.
“About two years ago we held meetings with the residents to explain the matter. However, not all signed the agreement,” said Mohd Ridhuan.
Meanwhile, a source said the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655) may be amended next year.
If approved, the communal septic tank will be once again be classified as sewerage system and enable IWK to carry out the de-sludging works without obtaining individual house owners permission.
IWK Communications senior manager Shahrul Nizam Sulaiman said IWK is willing to make arrangements with neighbourhoods that need their communal septic tanks de-sludged.
Tags / Keywords:
Central Region, Family & Community, Section 12 common septic
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