SPAN, IWK to desludge septic tanks at Pulau Perhentian

KUALA TERENGGANU: The National Water Services Commission (SPAN), together with Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK), will empty the septic tanks on Pulau Perhentian in Kuala Besut to deal with pollution problems that may be caused by sewage waste on the resort island.

SPAN Regional Operation Division senior director Ir Mohd Jalaludin Sulaiman said the service, which includes desludging works for about 500 premises, including government agency offices, resorts and homestays, involved a cost of RM3mil borne by the Federal Government.

"A survey conducted by SPAN and IWK found that several locations on Pulau Perhentian have been categorised as high risk, with pollution concentrated in Long Beach. Sampling was done on water supply sources from water supply operators and well water, and the results found that Escherichia Coli (E-Coli) bacteria were detected in the samples of well water used by food traders along the coast.

"The survey also found that the premises that use septic tanks on Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil had never emptied their septic tanks or treated the wastewater before it was released to the sea,” he said in a statement on Saturday (Oct 15).

He stressed that sewage waste should be disposed of in a safe manner to avoid the spread of water-borne diseases that are harmful to humans.

In this regard, Mohd Jalaludin said in accordance with the Water Services Industry (Desludging Services) Regulations 2021, which requires all septic tanks owners or users to conduct regular maintenance and emptying of septic tanks, IWK will expand its service to Pulau Perhentian to manage the scheduling of septic tank desludging for premises with individual septic tanks.

"The cost of carrying out desludging works on small islands is huge because of their locations, which do not have modern facilities to treat sewage.

"With the approval of the Environment and Water Ministry, the cost to finance this one-off desludging service will be borne by the federal government through a special allocation. However, after this, it will be the responsibility of the septic tank owner,” he said.

Meanwhile, IWK’s Head of the Desludging Business Unit, Pauzi Mohamed, said IWK will carry out regular septic tank emptying services on the island from the first quarter of 2023 after completing the sludge treatment facility.

Recently, a group of 40 tourists comprising 27 adults and 13 children who were on a three-day holiday at Pulau Perhentian Kecil, were alleged to have fallen sick after swimming in the waters off the island.

Some of them were reported to have diarrhoea and high fever after returning from the island and several people were hospitalised, while a one-year-old infant was diagnosed with typhoid, and two other children suffered blood poisoning.

In June, six friends claimed that they suffered food poisoning and fell ill after swimming in waters believed to be contaminated with untreated sewage at Pulau Perhentian Kecil. - Bernama

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IWK , SPAN , Pulau Perhentian , septic tank , pollution


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