MB: Possible sabotage on water pollution issue

An initial probe reveals that about 100 litres of benzene was intentionally ‘discharged’ from KSSB sand dredging pontoon


SELANGOR Mentri Besar (MB) Amirudin Shari does not dismiss the possibility that there is an act of sabotage which caused the shutdown of four water treatment plants, affecting about one million households in the state.

According to Amirudin, an initial probe revealed that about 100 litres of benzene was “discharged” from the Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB) sand dredging pontoon.

He said the remaining benzene left at the KSSB pontoon that ceased to operate in the past two months — was intentionally “removed”.

“As from my observation, to remove the pontoon would need human mechanics. So, we could not deny any act of sabotage, negligence, as well as any irregularity of any parties,” he told the press after visiting the Sungai Selangor Phase 2 (SSP2) Water Treatment Plant in Bestari Jaya, Selangor, yesterday.

Amirudin said KSSB has also lodged a police report on Sunday over the incident.

“I have asked KSSB to improvise its standard operating procedure and instructed all unused pontoon nearby Sungai Selangor to be removed. No oils should be left at the site which could cause this kind of incident from recurring,” he said.

KSSB is the state’s sand mining concessionaire. According to its website, the company’s upstream business also includes gold, bauxite and granite mining.

In a statement yesterday, KSSB acknowledged it had detected a diesel oil spill at Sungai Selangor without discounting a possible sabotage occurred at one of the state’s raw water resources.

KSSB public relations and corporate affairs senior manager Abdul Wahab Nordin said the diesel oil spill near the Kolam Hang Tuah, located nearby Sungai Selangor, was detected at about 6.15pm on Sunday.

He said the emergency response team was also deployed to the scene and the source of the spill has already been identified and contained.

Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd said diesel pollutant was detected at the intake of SSP1, SSP2 and SSP3, as well as the Rantau Panjang Water Treatment Plant from the raw water of Sungai Selangor.

It led to the shutting down of the water treatment plant for the second time since last Friday, affecting 1,133 areas involving 1,166,842 customer accounts in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

Last Friday, those plants were closed following odour pollution at the Sungai Selangor raw water source in Sungai Liam, Batang Kali, which was located about 61km from the diesel pollutant detected nearby SSP2 in Bestari Jaya.

Amirudin said the restoration of water has begun since 3.30am yesterday, and the water supplies are expected to gradually reach one-fourth of the consumers by 6pm today.

“We expect to reach 30% of recovery by 6pm tomorrow,” he said yesterday.

Meanwhile, the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) has lodged a police report yesterday over two water contamination incidents involving four water treatment plants in Selangor.

SPAN chairman Charles Santiago said in a statement yesterday that two incidents in the span of three days is alarming.

“It is an offence under Section 121 (1) of the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655) to pollute or cause to pollute any watercourse or water supply system with any substance that are likely to endanger the life of any person,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“In order to prevent recurrent pollution incidents, the federal, state and local governments need to consider dismissal of all economic activity in the vicinity of the river, especially the upstream part which is the water source for consumers’ daily uses,” Santiago added.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar had previously said the Inspector General of Police had been contacted to initiate the investigation on the matter.

“We consider this latest incident very seriously, which caused all of the water treatment plants in Sungai Selangor to be shut down again. It will be troublesome to the people in the state and could be considered as sabotage,” he said in a statement on Sunday.