Double whammy for Klang Valley folk

Subang Jaya residents lining up to fetch water at Jalan SS13/3 during yet another water cut caused by pollution in Sungai Selangor which led to the shutdown of Phase 1,2,3 and Rantau Panjang water treatment plants.

OUT-of-state staycations and “balik kampung” trips are not an option for those affected by the latest water cut following the shutdown of the Phase 1, 2, 3 and Rantau Panjang water treatment plants yesterday.

Neither will it be as convenient for the whole family to eat out.

Following restrictions put on interstate travel set by the conditional movement control order (MCO) in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, affected residents have little choice but to stay put and face the hardship of sudden disrupted water supply.

When taps ran dry last month due to water pollution in Sungai Selangor, Subang Jaya resident Chai May Ping was able to pack up and leave for her mother’s home in another state, thus solving her predicament.

“Too bad, I will not be able to do so this time around,” sighed Chai.

Commenting that the water cut could not have come at a more inconvenient time, another Subang Jaya resident Celina Chen said the rule limiting two people in a car meant she would have to make two trips from home to a restaurant and vice-versa if the family opted to eat out during the water cut.

“Takeaway is not a viable option at this time as it would be a waste of precious resources to wash plates and cutlery when water can be better utilised for drinking,” said Chai, who was lining up to fetch water.

Muhammad Harun, also from Subang Jaya, said the lack of standard operating procedures (SOP) observance among residents who came to fetch water from the static tanks in front of Kompleks 3C at Jalan SS13/3 in Subang Jaya, was very worrying.

Though many of the residents were wearing masks, he observed that there were no arrangements put in place to ensure physical distancing, the taking of temperature readings and contact details.

“I am worried as many people will be touching the taps, so I have brought my own hand sanitiser,” said Muhammad.

On the whole, residents said they were still in the dark as to why their water tanks had run dry this time around.

Many were under the impression that the problem was due to an earlier announcement by Air Selangor of a broken pipe which had affected 686 areas in Petaling, Gombak, Klang, Shah Alam, Kuala Lumpur and Hulu Selangor.

However, the present water cut was the result of the shutting down of the Phase 1, 2, 3 and Rantau Panjang water treatment plants after pollution of raw water resources was detected in Sungai Selangor at 2am yesterday.

Some 1.2 million households in 1,292 areas covering Kuala Lumpur, Petaling, Klang, Shah Alam, Kuala Selangor, Hulu Selangor and Kuala Langat were affected.

At press time, Air Selangor had yet to announce when water supply would be fully restored as the flushing of contaminants was ongoing.

The reaction of the residents who spoke to StarMetro on the latest round of supply disruption was one of anger and disappointment.

Hawker stall operator Cheah Boon Hing said he hoped authorities would go after the polluters and make them accountable for their actions.

“After what happened last month where the same water treatment plants had to be shut down due to the same reason, the authorities should have learned their lesson.

“Polluters should also realise that their actions are affecting the livelihoods of others.

“For hawkers like us, disruption of water supply means that we will not be able to operate.

“Each day that we are not able to operate is loss of income for us.

“Are these polluters willing to compensate us for our loss?” asked Cheah.

Subang Jaya assemblyman Michelle Ng, who was at Jalan SS13/3 to render assistance to the public, said recurring incidents of river pollution were an indication that legislation on river care, water security and environmental policies needed to be reviewed and changed.

“For now, the current penalties imposed cannot cover the clean-up cost of pollution.

“So we are recommending the minimum penalty be increased to RM200,000,” said Ng.

She added that a mechanism such as “Polluter Pays Principle” would have to be imposed on industries that continued to pollute. Under the policy, a fee is charged to factories to have their wastes recycled.

On the relocation of factories situated near the Sungai Selangor basin, Ng said the matter of Selangor’s water reserve had been brought up in a select committee hearing in May and tabled at the Selangor state assembly in July.

“In the committee’s findings, it was pointed out that water flow and not location was the main problem.

“Even if the factories were relocated, if they continued to dump their waste into manholes, these would go into the drains and then end up in the river.

“The solution would be in a zero discharge policy whereby a recycling plant should ideally be built to capture upstream effluents and later be released downstream away from the water treatment plant,” said Ng.

The tougher penalty for offenders is expected to be tabled at the state assembly sitting at the end of this month.

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