Palm oil mill operations suspended for ammonia pollution

20 Nov 2017 / 13:17 H.

JOHOR BARU: The operating licence of a palm oil mill has been immediately suspended for three months for causing ammonia pollution to a raw water supply source, namely Sembrong Dam in Kluang, yesterday.
State Health, Environment, Education and Information Committee chairman, Datuk Ayub Rahmat today said the suspension was to enable the mill to carry out cleaning-up work and to ensure the end of the discharging of effluent from the mill to the nearby river.
"We also have several conditions to be set forth for improvements to be made. If they fail to meet the conditions, the suspension will be extended under Regulation 4 of the Environmental Quality (Licensing) Regulations 1977."
Ayub said this to reporters after making a surprise visit, together with officers from various agencies to the mill and its effluent retention pond at Batu 3, Batu Pahat road, here, said to be the source of the pollution.
He said besides suspension, he had asked the Johor Water Regulatory Body (Bakaj) to impose the maximum compound of RM250,000 on the oil palm mill and to freeze its water extracting licence application.
"We hope this will serve as a lesson to this and also other factories located near water sources. We cannot compromise anymore and need to take stern action as this is a man-made problem which affects everyone.
"We also want the public not to easily point the accusing finger (at the authorities) as this a big joint responsibility of all parties concerned towards the environment. If we all love the environment, together we can make this state Johor Lestari (Sustainable Johor)," he said.
Yesterday, the Sembrong West water treatment plant, supplying clean water to about 45,000 Syarikat Air Johor (SAJ) Ranhill Sdn Bhd account holders, had to shut its operations after the Sembrong Dam which channels raw water to the plant had a high level of ammonia contamination at 20 parts per million (ppm).
This ammonia contamination was the fourth in Johor this year after the incidents affecting the Semangar, Sungai Johor and Tai Hong water treatment plants recently. — Bernama

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