Pollutant poured into toilet source of stink

Scenes such as this is becoming common. In this photo taken last month, Subang Jaya residents are lining up to fetch water at a static tank during a water cut because pollution in Sungai Selangor resulted in the shutdown of water treatment plants.

THE odour pollution that forced the closure of three Sungai Selangor treatment plants and the Rantau Panjang Water Treatment Plant has been traced to the toilet of a shoplot located a few hundred metres from Sungai Gong, Rawang.

Selangor tourism, environment, green technology and Orang Asli affairs committee chairman Hee Loy Sian told the house that the shop was in Taman Velox, Rawang.

He described the odour as akin to rotting jackfruit.

“The unpleasant and offensive smell emanated from a red-coloured effluent.”

Hee said Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) found the wastewater flowing into its treatment plant and initial investigations discovered that the pollutant was poured into the shop’s toilet.

The pollutant, he said, was channelled using a hose from tubs containing the liquid into the toilet.

“We believe that the perpetrators chose to use the toilet as it will be difficult to be found out,” he said.

The water treatment plants that were shut down on Tuesday disrupted water supply to 1.3 million households in the Klang Valley.

Sungai Gong is a tributary of Sungai Sembah which flows into Sungai Selangor that supplies raw water to four water treatment plants.

Hee elaborated on the water crisis following a question from Michelle Ng (PH-Subang Jaya) on what actions had been initiated against previous perpetrators who polluted Sungai Gong and Sungai Selangor in September and Sungai Semenyih in October.

The perpetrators’ actions led to the shutdown of water treatment plants disrupting water supply to a large number of consumers in the Klang Valley.

Hee replied that legal action was instituted against the Sungai Gong polluters and that the case was in court.

He said the pollution case involving Sungai Semenyih was still being investigated because the organic waste was dumped in the industrial area in Nilai, Negri Sembilan.

That contamination resulted in the closure of the water treatment plants in Sungai Semenyih and Bukit Tampoi in October.

To an additional question from Rajiv Rishyakaran (PH-Bukit Gasing), Hee revealed that the foul-smelling pollutant had flowed into IWK’s plant on Nov 4 from a manhole in Taman Velox.

“IWK did not inform the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) of the problem immediately but it was decided that the waste treatment plant needed to be shut down to contain the contaminants and remove the offensive smelling waste using tanker lorries to another location,” Hee said.

He expressed surprise that neither the Selangor government, Selangor Water Management Authority (LUAS) nor Air Selangor were alerted.

He said if the state authorities had been informed immediately of the contaminants, quick investigations to find the source of the pollutants could have been done.

“I would like to inform that the IWK plant ceased operations when the coloured contaminants were noticed.

“Removal of the pollutants is still ongoing,” he said based on his visit to the IWK plant and the water treatment plants following the incident.

Hee noted that such pollution had happened several times — twice in Semenyih, once in Batang Kali and the latest incident in Rawang.

Meanwhile, Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi (PAS-Sijangkang) said Selangor government must investigate in detail the water pollution that forced the closure of Sungai Selangor Water Treatment Plants Phase 1, 2 and 3 and the Rantau Panjang Water Treatment Plant on Tuesday.

He said the state government should not make accusations against IWK or come out with unsubstantiated statements, including stating elements of sabotage.“Where is the 24-hour surveillance?

“Where are the drone and monitoring steps announced much earlier?

“What is the use of having highly punitive measures with higher quantum fines minus the surveillance?” he said in a press statement via WhatsApp issued to members of the media.

Ahmad Yunus said the state government had failed to control the pollution at Sungai Selangor that was the source of raw water which the treatment plants drew from to serve more than one million account holders.

“In this latest incident, the situation has burdened the consumers.

“People want clean tap water and not lifting pails of water from stand-pipes or water tankers,” he added.

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