‘Harsh penalties for river polluters’


  • Nation
  • Monday, 31 Oct 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Government is considering enlisting the Special Branch to track down those responsible for the contamination in Sungai Buah, which cut off water supply to millions in the Klang Valley.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar also called for a review of water treatment plant procedures so that odour could be detected faster and future shutdowns prevented.

At one of the chemical dump sites in Dengkil, repair works are continuing on a 20m bund holding the contaminants in Sungai Buah from flowing into Sungai Semenyih. Three more bunds are being built along the river.

Dr Wan Junaidi said the water in Sungai Buah was being treated with activated carbon, which bound the contaminants to the surface of the river.

“My ministry and the Department of Environment (DOE) are working with the Selangor government in an in-depth investigation to find the source of this pollution and the people responsible for it.

“I give the assurance that harsh punishment will befall individuals or companies that have so carelessly affected the welfare of the public.

“I am not ruling out asking the help of the Special Branch to track down those responsible and bring them to justice,” he said in a statement here yesterday.

Dr Wan Junaidi also called for a review of the standard operating procedure in the state’s treatment plants, which so far did not include odour detection in their parameters.

“Only Pengurusan Air Selangor (Air Selangor) and the Health Ministry monitor odour in raw water. The DOE also doesn’t include odour in its parameters under the National Water Quality Standard.

“We will have to immediately review these odour sampling methods and see whether the procedure used by Air Selangor is the way forward or if it should be changed,” he said.

The contaminant, which has been identified as 4-bromodiphenyl ether, is used as a fire retardant and is so corrosive that it has charred swathes of grass on the banks of Sungai Buah.

The minister also called for the cooperation of the Elite Highway operator to report any accident that involved chemical spillage that could flow into the river nearby, so that the DOE would be able to immediately monitor clean-up works.

Selangor exco member Elizabeth Wong continued to accuse Negri Sembilan of being uncooperative in helping to treat polluted water on its side.

Activated charcoal in the state, she said, was almost running out, with 10 tonnes already being used in Sungai Buah.

“We want Negri Sembilan to treat the site so that the polluted water does not flow into Sungai Buah,” she said, adding that if this was not done, Selangor might be forced to buy more activated carbon.

As of 4pm yesterday, Syabas announced that water supply in all areas affected by the shutdown was almost fully restored, leaving only Hulu Langat and Kuala Langat.

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Environment , DOE , Wan Junaidi

   

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