Expert: Advanced technology seen as long-term solution to raw water contamination

Water from Sungai Buah has been stopped from flowing into Sungai Semenyih where the water treatment plant is located.

KUALA LUMPUR: The use of advanced water treatment technology can serve as a long-term solution in addressing the issue of raw water contamination.

Water quality and modeling expert Dr Zaki Zainuddin said the technology which had been adopted by Singapore had proven to be effective in treating raw water as compared with the conventional treatment methods used in this country.

He said the use of such technology would also be able to provide a better quality water supply to consumers, thus avoiding recurrence of water supply disruption following the closure of water treatment plants (WTP).

“The current method being used is not outdated, even developed countries like the United States are still using the same technology but the control aspect of river basin areas there is better than in Malaysia, thus reducing the risk of contamination and disposal of industrial waste into water resources.

“However, the cost of using the most advanced water treatment technology is quite high and certainly has its own implications such as the increase in water tariff to cover the expenses incurred for that purpose,” he said.

Zaki was asked to comment on the fourth closure of the Sungai Semenyih WTP, Selangor within two months following odour pollution of the river water, believed to have originated from an industrial area in Nilai, Negri Sembilan.

The first two shutdowns occurred on Sept 22 and Sept 23 while the third was on Oct 4 due to the pollution which had caused disruptions in water supply in the Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat, Petaling and Sepang districts.

Zaki said a more economical approach such as using water resources from the upper reaches of the river which was more clean and free of contamination could also help reduce the risk of raw water contamination supplied to WTPs.

He said most of WTPs in the country had been using water resources in the lower reaches of the river, whereby their surrounding areas were rapidly being developed, thus affecting the quality of the river water there.

“However, there are some parties rejecting this proposal by claiming that the upstream river areas are quite far to access and to supply water to WTPs,” he said.

Senior lecturer at the Environmental Studies Faculty of Universiti Putra Malaysia, Dr Mohd Yusoff Ishak said he was confident that academic experts and researchers from the country’s public universities were willing to cooperate to find a solution to the water pollution issue. - Bernama

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