Pasir Gudang chemical spill has no impact on water supply: Singapore authorities

Emergency personnel help students school evacuate after toxic chemical spill in Pasir Gudang, Johor, on 13 March 2019. (PHOTO: AP/Thomas Yong)

Singapore’s authorities have assured the public that the Pasir Gudang chemical spill incident affects areas outside of the Johor River catchment, and there is no impact on Singapore’s water supply at this moment.

In a joint media release on Thursday (14 March) by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), the National Environment Agency (NEA), the Public Utilities Board (PUB) and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), the authorities said that they have been closely monitoring the incident at Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang.

As of Thursday, more than 500 people – many of them students – have sought medical treatment and hospitalised after inhaling the toxic fumes emanating from waste that was dumped illegally in that area. The Malaysian education ministry has also closed 111 schools indefinitely due to the contamination.

Affected area outside Johor River catchment

The press release added, “We understand that the clean-up operation by the Malaysian authorities is in progress. The affected area is outside of the Johor River catchment, and there is no impact on Singapore’s water supply.

“SCDF, NEA and PUB have not detected any anomalies in our local air and water quality. The AVA has been working with our farmers to monitor the situation and no anomalies or fish mortality have been observed at our fish farms.”

The 24-hr Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) since 6 March has been in the Good to Low-Moderate range, while the 1-hr PM2.5 readings remained in Band I (Normal). NEA has not detected any elevated levels of benzene or other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) at its air monitoring stations. The ambient VOC levels along Singapore’s coast remain within safe levels. The seawater quality within the vicinity of Pulau Ubin is also within normal levels.

The authorities will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates if there are any significant developments.

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