NS not cooperative in S'gor water contamination issue: Wong

SHAH ALAM: Contaminated water still flows into Selangor from Negri Sembilan, even after 10 days of the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant being shut down due to pollution.

State executive councillor for environment Elizabeth Wong (PKR-Bukit Lanjan) said traces of the chemical 4-Bromo Diphenyl Ether can still be detected by monitoring teams.

"As of this morning, personnel stationed at the site can still detect foul odour and traces of the chemical," Wong told the state assembly today.

She attributed this to the source of the contamination not being cleaned up and them relying on temporary measures to stop polluted water from entering the State.

The source of the contamination was identified near km45.9 of the Elite highway in Nilai, which was washed into Sungai Buah, one of the rivers which lead into the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant.

Wong alleged that Negri Sembilan authorities were not cooperative and told the State to manage the pollution on their own.

She said officers from Selangor's Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID), Public Works Department (PWD, and other relevant agencies had built four bunds as an ad-hoc water treatment system to minimise pollution at Sungai Buah.

"This system was designed by a DID officer at the operations centre on site and built by PWD machinery. We wouldn't have been able to resume water services otherwise," Wong said while assemblymen thumped their tables in approval.

She stated that 20 tonnes of activated carbon had so far been used for water treatment on site and it is not a sustainable method.

Wong then commended the high level of cooperation coming from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry (NRE) with its deputy minister Datuk Hamim Samuri going on site to survey the contamination himself.

She said the NRE agreed that there are signs of sabotage from the latest incident and urged the police to investigate.

Wong said, however, the same cannot be said for Urban Wellbeing, Housing, and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar, who recently suggested that the Selangor state government itself sabotaged its water sources to gain public sympathy.

She said all this in reply to Eddie Ng (Dap-Balakong), who asked on the causes of Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant's shut down, its effects, and the state government's measures to address the matter.

In a supplementary question, Eddie asked if the state government will consider taking legal action against the Negri Sembilan state government over its non-cooperation but Wong did not give a definitive answer.

On a supplementary question from Ng Sze Han (Dap-Kinrara) on measures to ensure such contamination does not cross from other states into Selangor again. Wong replied that there are too many rivers leading from other states into Selangor and the state government cannot realistically control all entry points.

However, she noted the chemical is uncommon and is illegal to be sold in many countries including the US, and the Ministry or the police can perhaps trace its origins to find the culprit.