Diesel pollutant forces taps to dry up

Nosing around: A Syabas officer collecting a water sample from Sungai Batang Kali.

PETALING JAYA: The Sungai Selangor Phases 1, 2 and 3, and Rantau Panjang water treatment plants were shut down following the detection of diesel pollutant in Sungai Selangor, just two days after an odour pollution forced more than a million consumers to experience an abrupt water cut.

The list of affected areas is the same as previously listed.

A total of 1.2 million customer accounts in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling, Klang, Shah Alam, Kuala Selangor, Hulu Selangor, Gombak and Kuala Langat abruptly found their taps run dry on Friday.

With this second incident within three days involving the four plants, consumers may brace for another unscheduled interruption to their water supply.

Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) – a member of Air Selangor group – announced that the four water treatment plants were shut down after diesel pollu­tant was detected from the raw water of Sungai Selangor.

“Rantau Panjang plant was shut down at 6pm while the three pha­ses of SSP were shut down between 8pm and 8.15pm,” said Air Selangor customer relationship and communication department head Abdul Raof Ahmad in a statement last night.

He added that Syabas had reported the contamination to the autho­rities and found the source of pollution from sand dredging works upstream.

“We are working as fast as we can but we are unable to ascertain the restoration period should the raw water pollution incident recur.

“We are on standby to face any similar incidents as what has happened today,” he said.

The earlier shutdown was attributed to odour pollution traced to Sungai Liam in Batang Kali.

Earlier, state Environment, Green Technology and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian, when contacted, said illegal factories and workshops in Batang Kali would be ordered to close down if they were found to be the source of the river pollution.

He has directed the Hulu Selangor District Council to inspect all pre­mises in the area to find those involved in discharging effluent into waterways.

“We also suspect the culprit could have flushed the effluent down the toilet, as a sewage treatment plant in Batang Kali was covered in black oil.

“We take this issue very seriously because it caused massive water supply disruption and put the public at risk,” he said.

Hee called on the council to look at alternative sites to relocate the factories and workshops in the area.

He also urged the local councils and Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas) to press for a maximum penalty under the existing laws to serve as a deterrent.

Hee said a police report was lodged at the Bestari station as pollutants were detected in Sungai Batang Kali.

National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chairman Charles Santiago said the law should be amended to impose harsher penalties on the culprits.

“The law needs to be rewritten to safeguard water catchment areas.

“The existing penalties for environment-related offences are a mere slap on the wrist.

“Company owners, board of directors and top management should be charged in court if their factories or businesses are involved in illegally discharging effluent. Some companies get away by blaming it on their workers.

“Only when the top management are held accountable would they take managing hazardous waste more seriously,” he added.

Consumers are urged to refer to the Air Selangor app, www.syabas.com.my, and Air Selangor Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates. They can also call 15300 or WhatsApp 019-281 6793 / 019-280 0919.

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