Sabotage at water source caused contamination

22 Jul 2019 / 20:47 H.

KUALA SELANGOR: Police are investigating the latest incident of water pollution in Sungai Selangor as a case of sabotage.

“Irresponsible parties had purposely loosened the clip that held the hose pipe from the diesel tank to the engine on a pontoon excavator, causing 100 litres of Benzene diesel to spill into the river,“ said Selangor Police Chief Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin. (A pontoon excavator is used in sand mining activities.)

Noor Azam said the pontoon excavator, own by a contractor, was left unguarded when the incident took place on Sunday.

He said a guard who was stationed near the pontoon excavator saw “two or three” men arrive on a motorcycle and began fishing in the river.

“The guard told them to leave but they refused. He then left the scene,“ he added.

Noor Azam said it was reported later that diesel had spilled into the river. Investigations showed that the hose pipe linking the oil tank to the engine of the pontoon excavator had been removed.

He said there was a high possibility that the anglers were responsible for the spill.

Noor Azam said the incident would be investigated under Section 430 of the Penal Code for mischief by injury to works of irrigation or by wrongfully diverting water and those found guilty could be jailed for five to 30 years or fined.

Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Amirudin Shari, who visited the site later, said the contractor had been licensed by Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB), a Selangor government-linked company involved in sand mining.

He said the standard operating procedure for all companies whose activities involved water resources would be strengthened. “All pontoons excavators that are still operating in Sungai Selangor must also be pulled out,“ he added.

He said the stretch of Sungai Selangor where sand mining activities were going on stretched across 60km, making it impossible to prevent trespassing.

Lembaga Urus Air Selangor (LUAS) said in a statement that the pollution was detected at the Rantau Panjang water treatment plant at 5.45pm, and at two other treatment plants downstream at 8pm and 8.15pm.

A total 1,222 areas were hit by the water cut. They included parts of Kuala Lumpur, Petaling, Klang, Shah Alam, Kuala Selangor, Ulu Selangor, Gombak and Kuala Langat.

An estimated 1.2 million accounts were affected.

Water supply to the affected areas is being restored in stages and full supply to all areas is expected by 6am tomorrow.

In the interim, LUAS prepared 17 water tanks at 16 local service centres to supply water to affected resident. It also deployed 131 mobile tankers to affected areas with the assistance of the Fire and Rescue Department.

This is the second such incident in Selangor within three days.

On Saturday spilt oil-based waste discharged from a nearby industrial area and from a car workshop led to the Indah Water Consortium inlet water treatment plant in Batang Kali to be shut down.

This left more than a million homes without water. Supply to the affected was only fully restored on Sunday when the second oil spill occurred.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar said action would be taken against the culprits.

National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chairman Charles Santiago advised the people not to dump waste into the river.

Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (Awer) president S. Piarapakaran suggested those involved in dredging work or deepening the river or road works need to be cautious by doing piling or dredging works.

He said such requirements should be included into their project contracts.

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