JOHOR BARU: A high level of ammonia in the raw water from Sungai Johor has caused a major water disruption affecting approximately 600,000 residents in southern Johor.
Operations at three water treatment plants – the Semangar, Sungai Johor and Tai Hong water treatment plants – were stopped on Tuesday when the chemical was detected in the water.
State Works, Rural and Regional Development committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad said that operations at the three plants was now being resumed in stages.
“We have to stop the operations as the raw water with a high ammonia content is not suitable for consumption,’’ he said in a press statement released here on Wednesday.
The three plants served residents, commercial and industrial users in Skudai, Kulai, Bukit Batu, the Tanjung Bin power plant, Iskandar Puteri and the Port of Tanjung Pelepas.
Hasni said Syarikat Air Johor Holdings Sdn Bhd (SAJ) and the state water regulatory authority Bakaj and the Department of Environment were taking the necessary steps in handling the situation and were working to identify the cause of the high ammonia content.
“This incident is beyond our control and we could not make the announcement on the water disruption much earlier without first identifying the main cause,” he said advising consumers to use water wisely.
Hasni added that SAJ would be mobilising tankers to supply water to “critical public places” namely hospitals, dialysis centres, places of worships and community halls.
Meanwhile, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin said investigations into the source of the ammonia pollution have begun.
“We will not compromise on the issue,” he said on Wednesday.
In April 2015, a large oil slick hit Sungai Johor, affecting almost 500,000 residents in three southern districts when the Semangar and Sungai Johor water treatment plants were forced to close.
The oil slick was tracked down to tyre burning at Felda Taib Andak in Kulai, approximately 15km from the water treatment intakes.