Illegal waste disposal causes closure at Sg Semenyih plant

by HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic by BERNAMA

CONTAMINATION of raw water sources was the cause of closure of the Sungai Semenyih Water Treatment Plant (LRA) on Saturday, said the National Water Services Commission (SPAN).

Based on preliminary investigations and reports received from the site visit, SPAN concluded that the incident was the result of illegal dumping of contaminants into the Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd’s (IWK) sewage.

The incident caused odorous contamination of water supply at the Sungai Semenyih LRA and foul smell in the area.

As such, all operations of the LRA were immediately shut down to prevent treated water being passed to affected users. This is the plant’s second closure in three months.

It was estimated that over 1.5 million users in Selangor, particularly in parts of Hulu Langat, Sepang, Putrajaya, Petaling and Kuala Langat were affected by the disruption.

SPAN also said in a statement that the culprits behind the incident will be identified and severely punished according to the Water Service Industry Act 2006 (Act 655).

After the investigation is completed, the case will be referred to the prosecutor for further action.

In the meantime, SPAN and all related parties are working hard to resolve the problem so that the Sungai Semenyih LRA can resume operations as soon as possible.

The parties included are the Selangor Water Management Authority (LUAS), Department of Environment, Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd and IWK.

Currently, SPAN is holding talks with the parties to look for the best possible precautionary measures to control the illegal disposal of contaminants to prevent any future LRA closures.

In a separate statement, IWK said it had lodged a police report over the matter.

“At 7pm (on Saturday), there was no (more) odour. SPAN, LUAS and IWK personnel conducted an inspection at the sewers around the area and found out that there was illegal waste disposal with solvent odour.

“This incident is similar to the incident that occurred last September,” it said.

In 2019 alone, there have been cases of contamination all over the country that has prompted environmentalists, government entities and residents who are affected to call for reinforcement of the law and more stern punishments to the perpetrators.

One of the cases that made headlines this year was the toxic pollution of Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, Johor, which happened in March and affected 6,000 victims.

Investigation by authorities deduced that illegal disposal of chemical waste had polluted the river, resulting in the temporary shutdown of 111 schools and a lawsuit against 11 defendants, including the state government of Johor and its former Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian.

The government stated that the cost of cleaning up the 1.5km stretch of Sungai Kim Kim was RM6.4 million.