Odour pollution 'quite common' in Selangor, says minister

Yiswaree Palansamy
Minister of Water Land and Natural Resources Dr Xavier Jayakumar speaks to reporters during the PKR retreat in Port Dickson July 20, 2019. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PORT DICKSON, July 20 — Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar today said that incidences of odour pollution in treated water sources in Selangor is “quite common”.

He said an investigation team has already been dispatched to comb Batang Kali, the area said to be the source of the pollution, which flowed into Sungai Selangor.

“But then what you want us to do?” he said when asked about the repetitive treated water-related issues.

“This odour pollution in the river, is quite common in Selangor the pollution started somewhere in Batang Kali area, and the investigation team has gone down to investigate, I will get the report later,” Dr Xavier said, when met at PKR's party leadership retreat here.

He said that it is difficult  to monitor “who throws what into the river”, adding that Sungai Selangor is very huge.

When asked if the available laws need to be amended to more effectively address the issue, Dr Xavier said that the legal provisions are already tight enough to penalise those who poison rivers.

“Under SPAN the laws are very tight. I can send someone to prison for life even if you're going to poison the river where there is a water treatment plant,” he said, adding that the problem however, lies in nabbing the perpetrators.

SPAN refers to the National Water Services Commission.

The odour pollution was detected at the three locations yesterday afternoon, which led to the temporary closure of three water treatment plants, affecting 1,133 areas and 1,166,842 consumers in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling, Klang/Shah Alam, Kuala Selangor, Hulu Selangor, Gombak and Kuala Langat.

A code red emergency was then activated, with the Selangor state government, SPAN and state disaster unit notified about the matter.

Earlier today, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) said that it has resolved the water disruption caused by odour pollution at the Phases 1, 2 and 3 of the Sungai Selangor Water Treatment Plant and Rantau Panjang Water Treatment Plant.

Syabas said they are still in the process of raising and stabilising the reservoir levels and pressure in the distribution system and supply restoration process is underway in stages.

The Air Selangor Water Quality Unit, in collaboration with Hulu Selangor District Council, have carried out an investigation to identify the source of pollution.

Syabas had activated 16 Local Service Centres (LSCs) and 17 Public Water Taps from 9am to distribute relief water supply to affected customers.

Initially scheduled repair works on the Sungai Selangor Phase 1 Water Treatment Plant which was scheduled for July 23, has also been postponed due to the unexpected water disruption yesterday.

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