Malaysia: Chemical spill leads to closure of three Johor water treatment plants

RIZALMAN HAMMIM New Straits Times 13 Jul 16;

JOHOR BARU: A chemical spill in Sungai Johor has caused a disruption in the water supply in several areas in Johor Baru and Kulai since early Tuesday afternoon.

SAJ Holdings Sdn Bhd's head of corporate communications, Jamaluddin Jamil said the ammonia spill was detected on Tuesday morning upstream of Sungai Johor.

"The spill forced SAJ to shut the operations of three water treatment plants, namely the Sungai Johor, Semangar and Tai Hong plants, immediately after the spill was detected," said Jamaluddin.

However, the cause of the ammonia spill is still unknown at press time.

The closure of the three treatment plants caused water disruption in several areas, including Iskandar Puteri, Skudai, the Port of Tanjung Pelepas and the Tanjung Bin power plant, as well as Bukit Batu in Kulai.

Some 120,000 households are affected by the water disruption.

Jamaluddin said SAJ would restart the operation of the three plants as soon as the spill is contained.

"However, it will take some time for the water supply to be restored as we need to treat the raw water, build up the water pressure and fill the water tanks," said Jamaluddin.


Ammonia spill: Two of three Johor water treatment plants reopen
CHUAH BEE KIM New Straits Times 13 Jul 16;

JOHOR BARU: Two of the three water treatment plants in Kota Tinggi that were closed yesterday due to an ammonia spill in Sungai Johor were reopened today.

SAJ Holdings Sdn Bhd's head of corporate communications, Jamaluddin Jamil said the Semangar and Sungai Johor water treatment plants resumed operations as of 5am today.

The Semangar water treatment plant was closed at 3.10am yesterday, while the Sungai Johor water treatment plant was closed at 12.30am yesterday following the detection of high levels of ammonia in Sungai Johor.

Some 600,000 consumers are expected to encounter dry taps or low water pressure due to the closures.

Jamaluddin said the third water treatment plant, Tai Hong is still closed.

It was reported that an ammonia spill was detected on Tuesday morning upstream of Sungai Johor.

Residents in Iskandar Puteri, Skudai, the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Tanjung Bin power plant and Bukit Batu in Kulai will encounter water disruption today.

"It will take some time for the water supply to be restored as we need to treat the raw water, build up the water pressure and fill the water tanks," said Jamaluddin.

Johor Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said the cause of the ammonia spill has yet to be determined.

"The hot weather and low water flow of the rivers can worsen the situation," he said.


High ammonia levels cause water disruption
ZAZALI MUSA The Star 14 Jul 16;

JOHOR BARU: High ammonia levels found in raw water from Sungai Johor has caused a major water disruption, forcing three water treatment plants to stop operating in the state.

The disruptions to the Semangar, Sungai Johor and Tai Hong treatment plants have affected some 600,000 residents in the southern part of Johor since Tuesday when the high levels were first detected in the water.

State Works, Rural and Regional Development committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad said that operations at the three plants had now resumed in stages.

“We had to stop the operations as the raw water with high content of ammonia treated at the plants is not suitable for consumption,” he said in a press statement released here on Wednesday.

The three plants serve residents, commercial and industrial users in Skudai, Kulai, Bukit Batu, Tanjung Bin power plant, Iskandar Puteri and the Port of Tanjung Pelepas.

Hasni said Syarikat Air Johor Holdings Sdn Bhd (SAJ) and the state water regulatory authority Bakaj and the Department of Environment were taking the necessary steps and were identifying the cause of the sudden high ammonia levels in the raw water.

Hasni said while waiting for the supply to fully resume, SAJ would mobilise tankers to supply water to public places such as hospitals, dialysis centres, places of worships and community halls.

In Iskandar Puteri, Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the state government would take stern action against those responsible for the high ammonia levels in Sungai Johor.

In April last year, a huge oil slick in Sungai Johor also caused a major water disruption, affecting almost 500,000 residents in three southern districts.


High ammonia levels cause Johor water disruptions
ZAZALI MUSA The Star 13 Jul 16;

JOHOR BARU: A high level of ammonia in the raw water from Sungai Johor has caused a major water disruption affecting approximately 600,000 residents in southern Johor.

Operations at three water treatment plants – the Semangar, Sungai Johor and Tai Hong water treatment plants – were stopped on Tuesday when the chemical was detected in the water.

State Works, Rural and Regional Development committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad said that operations at the three plants was now being resumed in stages.

“We have to stop the operations as the raw water with a high ammonia content is not suitable for consumption,’’ he said in a press statement released here on Wednesday.

The three plants served residents, commercial and industrial users in Skudai, Kulai, Bukit Batu, the Tanjung Bin power plant, Iskandar Puteri and the Port of Tanjung Pelepas.

Hasni said Syarikat Air Johor Holdings Sdn Bhd (SAJ) and the state water regulatory authority Bakaj and the Department of Environment were taking the necessary steps in handling the situation and were working to identify the cause of the high ammonia content.

“This incident is beyond our control and we could not make the announcement on the water disruption much earlier without first identifying the main cause,” he said advising consumers to use water wisely.

Hasni added that SAJ would be mobilising tankers to supply water to “critical public places” namely hospitals, dialysis centres, places of worships and community halls.

Meanwhile, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin said investigations into the source of the ammonia pollution have begun.

“We will not compromise on the issue,” he said on Wednesday.

In April 2015, a large oil slick hit Sungai Johor, affecting almost 500,000 residents in three southern districts when the Semangar and Sungai Johor water treatment plants were forced to close.

The oil slick was tracked down to tyre burning at Felda Taib Andak in Kulai, approximately 15km from the water treatment intakes.

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