No thanks to something unpleasant in the water tanks

GEORGE TOWN: This may sound disgusting or even come as a shock to many, but dead animals have actually been found “hiding” in the water tanks on the rooftop of some apartments, especially those near the seafront.

There might even be a dead, decomposing pigeon inside. And lab tests on the stored water may reveal bacteria like E.coli, which come from animal faeces.

Licensed plumber Chooi Foo Cheong has been washing apartment tanks for 30 years and has seen enough of this.

A licensed plumber is one who is certified by the National Water Service Commission after taking an examination and is certified to run water works projects.

“For some reason, apartments near the sea tend to face larger pigeon problems. The tanks will rust with age and might develop a hole at the top. Pigeons tend to be drawn to the hole, ” he said.

“In all my years doing this work, I have seen dead birds floating in the tanks more than once. We are required to send the water for testing and when bacteria is detected, we have to tell the apartment management that they have no choice but to fully clean their tanks.”The other problems in unclean tanks include a thick layer of rust and sediment, algae and slime on the walls.

Chooi said although rust in the water would not pose health problems, the discoloured water would affect the quality of life.

He added that depending on the severity of a dirty tank and complexity of its design, it would cost apartments between RM600 and RM1,500 to have their tanks cleaned.

“But many apartment management committees don’t have the funds. They reserve it to maintain lifts, common lighting and other things. At the very least, they should have someone check the tanks regularly for leaks and holes, ” said Chooi.

He said large factories and hotels invariably install good water filters and hire licensed plumbers like him to maintain them.

In such cases, he said the water would be safe to drink from the tap.

“In your own home, you can install a water filter in the kitchen to have safe drinking water, ” he said.

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