Preventing pollution at river basins

Geotextile is used at the EKVE project site to protect the soil.

SELANGOR will scrutinise preventive measures taken by contractors of infrastructure projects near rivers to ensure silt does not end up in the water bodies.

State environment, green technology, tourism and indigenous affairs committee chairman Hee Loy Sian said the state received proposals and approved several big infrastructure projects close to the Sungai Selangor basins, which could potentially pollute the river.

Without proper preventive measures, pollution can result in the closure of all three Sungai Selangor water treatment plants (WTP), namely Sungai Selangor Phase 1 WTP, SSP 2 WTP and SSP 3 WTP, which will likely disrupt water supply to the state for a few days.

“Therefore, we need to look at this matter closely to avoid any disruption in water treatment plant operations, ” Hee said after visiting the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) project site near Ampang WTP, to see the preventive measures in place.

He said the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) was another major project the authorities were paying attention to as its construction sites were also near a river.

On the EKVE, he said the project contractor was using geotextile to protect the soil.

Hee visiting the EKVE project site near the Ampang water  treatment  plant with  representatives of the state DOE, Luas as well as project owner and  contractor.  — Photos: SAMUEL ONG/The StarHee visiting the EKVE project site near the Ampang water treatment plant with representatives of the state DOE, Luas as well as project owner and contractor. — Photos: SAMUEL ONG/The Star

He said the Selangor government, the state Environment Department (DOE) and the Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas) received numerous complaints of murky water from Sungai Ampang leading up to Sungai Klang.

He disclosed that the EKVE project, which started in 2015, caused the turbidity levels in Sungai Ampang to go up several times since 2017.

As a result, the Ampang WTP that gets water from Sungai Ampang had to stop operations 119 times in 2019 and 75 times last year.

This, said Hee, affected many residents.

“There has been no stop-work order so far this year.

“The worst water quality reading this year was 700NTU (nephelometric turbidity units), which was very high but still within the level for water treatment.

“Stop-work order will only happen if the reading exceeds 1,000NTU because water with a reading above that means it cannot be treated.

“The pollution level right now does not necessitate shutting down the water treatment plant, but improvements are needed, ” he added.

The EKVE contractor, said Hee, was given the next couple of months to improve measures.

He said the state DOE had hauled the contractor to court twice for polluting the river, with fines of RM100,000 in 2017 and RM160,000 in 2019.

Ampang Jaya Municipal Council also issued a RM500,000 compound to the contractor last year for bad land clearing works.

The relevant state authorities will conduct investigations under the Luas (Amendment) 2020 Bill if any project contractors caused any closure of a water treatment plant.

If found guilty, the offenders can be jailed for no more than two years and fined between RM200,000 and RM1mil, among other penalties.

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