Selangor offers to jointly manage IWK amid recurring water pollution

The problem is attributed to discrepancies in criteria and ‘standards of pollution’ stated between the water supplier and manager, says MB


THE Selangor state government has expressed its interest in managing Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK) following the repetitive odour pollution in the national sewerage operator’s piping line in the state.

Selangor Mentri Besar (MB) Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari (picture) said the pollution has caused major water disruptions in Selangor’s water treatment plant (LRA) that is located at the downstream area, affecting millions of people.

He said the problem is attributed to discrepancies in criteria and “standards of pollution” stated between the water supplier and manager, namely Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Air Selangor) and IWK.

Amirudin said while Air Selangor has set the threshold odour number of water intake to zero tonne, IWK does not count in the odour factor in its sewage effluent.

“This kind of treated water will give us up to five times the smell in our pipes in the treatment plant, especially when it gets triggered by chemicals that we use in treating the water,” he told the press after visiting Tasik Idaman pond in Sepang, Selangor yesterday.

Amirudin said the state government had previously requested Putrajaya to study and consider the proposal to manage IWK.

“To some extent, we have even appealed so that we could manage IWK because we do have a direct interest in it. Otherwise, we cannot control the way we treat water due to the differences in standards between us. These disturb our supply quality,” he added.

On Saturday, Sungai Semenyih LRA had to be shut down again due to odour pollution that was detected at the treatment plant entry point — the third time such incidents were recorded within five months.

The treatment plant operations were halted to stop contaminated water waste from reaching Sungai Semenyih’s water treatment facility.

In July, about one million users in 1,133 areas in the Klang Valley were hit by water supply disruption because of pollution of the raw water source at Sungai Selangor.

Subsequently, two months later, a 13-hour shutdown of the water supply took place following odour pollution, also at Sungai Semenyih.

As for this round, 1.5 million residents were affected in several areas from Hulu Langat, Sepang, Putrajaya, Petaling Jaya to Kuala Langat.

The National Water Services Commission said illegal toxic disposal into the IWK sewage manhole at Bandar Bukit Mahkota was the cause of the odour pollution.

Amirudin said the incident was due to IWK operation’s procedure, which allowed an automated process to keep running without human supervision outside working hours.

“After the working hours of 8am to 5pm, the ‘unmanned plant’ is still processing water waste and produces effluents. Within the next four to five hours, the water will reach our treatment plant which is located about 12km to 13km.

“By that time, the water has already been contaminated and only can be detected at the LRA entry point, which is too late.

“No one could alert us and by that time, the culprit who dumped the illegal waste may have also disappeared,” he said, adding that so far no detector could work in identifying odour pollution better than the “human nose”.

Amiruddin said he would like to see cooperation between the state and federal governments to mitigate the predicament as soon as possible.

“This is not the first time of such odour pollution. The Bukit Mahkota sewerage plant had been hit at the same spot of the manhole twice, while other odour pollution had happened at Batang Kali,” Amirudin said.

Amirudin, who earlier assured that water supplies could reach consumers on Sunday night, said the water pollution graph had also recorded inconsistent readings until yesterday’s morning.

“So, we hope by doubling the flush of Sungai Semenyih LRA to the waterways, and pumping water from Tasik Idaman pond, the contaminated water would go faster and the reading would be more stabilised.

“If all goes well, water supply should reach the residents in the late evening today,” Amirudin said yesterday.