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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Leachate polluting river

Dirty discharge: Leachate discharge from the waste transfer station flowing into Sungai Batu which is just a stone's throw away from the plant.

Dirty discharge: Leachate discharge from the waste transfer station flowing into Sungai Batu which is just a stone's throw away from the plant.

OPPONENTS of the proposed incinerator in Kepong have questioned whether the authorities are capable of managing the high-tech facility once it is built.

They say their concern is not unfounded, especially after seeing black leachate contaminating Sungai Batu. They believe the leachate is from compacted waste at the Taman Beringin solid waste transfer station.

They made the “discovery” during a visit to the site in Jinjang Utara, which houses the station.

A foul smell emanated from the discharge.

The group claimed that the dark colour of the leachate flow was an indication of how the discharge had not been properly treated by the leachate treatment plant within the transfer station.

Some residents who are part of the Kuala Lumpur Tak Nak Insinerator (KTI) Action Committee — which is against the construction of an incinerator at the same site — say no monitoring is being done by the relevant agencies with regard to the treatment and management of leachate from the refuse.

“This situation has been prevalent since the middle of last year when we first became aware of the putrid odour,” said KTI media advisor Lam Choong Wah.

“From our observation, the leachate is discharged in small amounts daily, straight into the river.

“How can this be allowed?

“We had sought access into the leachate plant to see for ourselves the treatment process, but were not successful.

“We were told that the facility is not operated by Alam Flora, but a third party,” he added.

Independent surveys

The committee has engaged independent researchers to carry out surveys at four sampling points along Sungai Batu in June this year.

The surveys conform to the internationally-accepted test method published by the Standard Method for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, American Public Health Association 21st Edition, 2005.

The four points were the upstream and downstream areas of the river, the leachate direct discharge at MRR2, and also the Taman Nanyang leachate discharge (from a non-sanitary dumpsite which had previously existed behind the waste transfer station).

The results were assessed against the Department of Environment’s (DoE) Standard B of the Fifth and Seventh (for COD) Schedule of Environmental Quality (Industrial Effluent Regulations 2009, Environmental Quality Act 1974).

Serdang MP Dr Ong Kian Ming said the figures exceeded the acceptable maximum under DoE’s Standard B in several parameters tested.

“For instance at sampling point 2, which is the MRR2 direct discharge leachate from the waste transfer station, tests show the pollution level of Biochemical Oxygen Demand or BOD to be 90 milligrams per litre against the acceptable level of 50.

“Meanwhile, the Chemical Oxygen Demand or COD was found to register 800 milligrams per litre, four times more than the acceptable 200.

(BOD is described as the amount of oxygen required by microorganisms to break down organic matter, while COD is the measure of pollution which cannot be broken down by way of biological oxidation in the water sample).

“There is also the parameter of colour, ADMI (measurement of colour value for wastewater), which at 448 surpasses the standard of 200.

“The Ammoniacal Nitrogen (a nitrogen component that helps determine sewage pollution) recorded 37.1 compared to Standard B’s 20, while at sampling point 3, which is the Taman Nanyang leachate discharge, a 412.7 measurement was registered on this same parameter.

Hazardous to health

“Based on these findings, we can conclude that the figures recorded by some parameters are not compliant with the limit of Standard B in at least three of the four sampling points,” said Dr Ong, adding that the high COD and BOD indicate organic pollution while the presence of Ammoniacal Nitrogen and other heavy metal elements such as arsenic and lead are toxic and hazardous to residents’ health.

It is learnt that the former non-sanitary dumpsite had been in existence for at least 30 years.

An earlier treatment plant and pond had also been built to treat leachate from this dumpsite before it was channelled into the river.

However, this former dumpsite has since been closed and cleaned up while the earlier leachate plant and pond are no longer operational.

It has been abandoned and a stagnant layer of water (from algae and micro-organism) has formed at the pond and a tank at the plant.

The current Taman Beringin waste transfer station compacts solid waste before it is transported to the Bukit Tagar sanitary landfill.

“Our contention is that if a waste transfer station which does not utilise high technology cannot be managed and operated properly, how do we expect to operate a high-tech incinerator and even monitor the emission of hazardous substances like dioxin that would pose greater environmental and health risks?” asked Dr Ong.

The proposed RM1bil incinerator is to be built next to the current waste transfer station.

Tags / Keywords: Central Region , leachate , Taman Beringin , waste transfer station , discharge , river , pollution , parameters , non sanitary dumpsite , incinerator , KTI , disposal


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