SEREMBAN: New sewage treatment plants may only be allowed to be built near industrial areas, said Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar.
This, he added, was one way to allow treated water produced from the sludge to be utilised by industries rather than have it flow out to rivers.
“Under the ministry’s green technology master plan, we are aiming to recycle a third of the total water which enters these facilities,” he said after witnessing the handing over of the upgraded Kuala Sawah regional sewage plant by National Water Service Commission (SPAN) to IWK.
Dr Xavier said the water from the sewage plants was also drinkable if filtered and treated at water treatment plants.
He said the federal authorities through SPAN was already spending huge amounts of money to build new state-of-the-art sewage treatment plants and to upgrade existing ones in the country.
“In fact, we already have the technology to produce electricity from the biomass at these plants.
“I am confident these facilities will also be able to start producing electricity way before the targeted deadline of 2030,” he said, adding that the sludge can also be processed and turned into fertiliser.
IWK currently has some 7,000 treatment plants and 101 regional facilities nationwide.
On a separate matter, Dr Xavier rubbished an online report alleging that he issued licences to four companies to export river sand because they were linked to him.
“They must know that only state governments can issue sand mining licences, and the federal government has no jurisdiction over such matters.
“That website has got its facts wrong,” he said, adding that he was not involved in any direct negotiations with the companies before awarding them the export permits.
He said a committee in his ministry vetted the applications and then forwarded the names to him for approval to obtain export licences.
“I have no idea who is behind these companies,” he said.
The website claimed that the four companies were Dr Xavier’s cronies and were awarded special AP permits to export sand.
The website also claimed that one of Dr Xavier’s close aides had in a letter dated Nov 29, 2018, asked for support from the relevant authorities to facilitate the awarding of export licences to the four companies.