Malaysia, Selangor: River water bad, dam water dropping

The Star 25 Oct 16;

PETALING JAYA: While the authorities are grappling to contain the contamination that has shut down water treatment plants three times this month, they also have another problem on their hands.

The water level at the Sungai Selangor dam that supplies 60% of Selangor and Putrajaya’s treated water is dropping fast and is now close to the 40% level which triggered water rationing two years ago.

The dam is now at 43.29%, dropping more than 6% in the past 15 days alone, according to data from the Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas).

On March 2, 2014, water rationing was imposed in the Klang Valley and Selangor on March 2 to May 1 after the water level dipped below 40%.

The critical level for the dam is 30%, and the current reading is far below the 82.58% recorded exactly a year ago.

“There’s a risk of rationing if the level continues to drop,” said Asso­ciation of Water and Energy Research Malaysia president S. Piarapakaran.

He cited two possible reasons for the rapid drop.

The first is the lower than average rainfall over the Sungai Selangor dam’s catchment area.

The second is that a higher than normal rate of water is being released from the dam, to meet demand by treatment plants after the river contamination elsewhere.

Piarapakaran said the Sungai Selangor Phase 1 treatment plant was producing 10% more treated water than usual, while the Sungai Selangor Phase 3 plant was producing 30% more.

“If we don’t get lots of rain soon, the Klang Valley could end up with a situation similar to Mersing,” he added, referring to the Johor town which was hit by a six-month long scheduled water supply exercise which only ended yesterday.

MetMalaysia brought no immediate cheer.

A spokesman said the inter monsoon period this month would see less rainfall.

In October last year, there was 100mm to 250mm below average rainfall, according to the department’s website.

“However, the situation is expected to improve with more rains from early next month due to the arrival of the north-east monsoon,” said the spokesman.

The north-east monsoon brings heavy rain not just to the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

West coast states, including Selangor, can also get as much as 20% to 60% above average rainfall.

This stinks to high heaven!
Foul-smelling, toxic solvent dumped at riverside
The Star 25 Oct 16;

SEPANG: Someone has been dumping toxic solvent by the banks of Sg Buah, off the Elite Highway here, causing the water that flows into Sg Semenyih to become dangerous.

Authorities are now racing to clean up the mess by building a bund across the river to stop the water from flowing into Sg Semen­yih and drawing out the contaminated water to be dumped elsewhere.

The 20m bund has been built across Sg Buah as authorities work to restore treated water supply to hundreds of thousands of consumers in four districts in Selangor.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Azmin Ali said that although the authorities had yet to establish the culprit behind the mess, Selangor Water Management Board Authority (Luas) had found traces of a solvent at three spots in the river, across the border to Negri Sembilan.

The solvent is so toxic that swathes of green grass by the banks were charred.

“We had no choice but to prevent Sg Buah from flowing into Sg Semenyih to restart our water treatment. Our priority now is to ensure the 320,000 account holders get their supply as soon as possible,” he said after checking on the clean-up operations.

The affected consumers are from the Sepang, Kuala Langat, Hulu Langat and Petaling districts.

Apart from the water board, several other agencies, including the Sepang and Kajang municipalities, the Drainage and Irrigation Department and Indah Water Konsortium are involved in the clean-up exercise.

After the bund was in place, pumps were brought in to extract the foul-smelling water from Sg Buah into tankers. The water was transported out in lorries and deposited in a nearby pond.

Azmin said the Luas employees went to the scene after getting reports of the foul smell at about 7.30am on Sunday.

“While conducting checks, they found the smell at its worst near a section of the river at the north-bound Nilai R&R, along the North-South Expressway,” he said.

At about 6.10pm, they found large traces of solvent along the 45.9km mark of the Elite Highway, which links the New Klang Valley Express­way and the southbound stretch of the North-South Expressway.

“It looks as if the solvent had been dumped along a slope causing it to flow into Sg Buah,” Azmin said.

Klang Valley folk see red over supply disruption
The Star 25 Oct 16;

PETALING JAYA: Residents all over Klang Valley are furious over having to face water supply disruption after the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant has to be shut down again following the latest incident of river contamination.

This is the fourth disruption in two months.

Not only do the residents have to put up with the inconvenience, businesses, particularly those that consume large amounts of water such as eateries, hair salons and laundromats, are bearing losses. Even hospitals are not spared.

KPMC Puchong Specialist Centre general manager Paramjeet Singh said with more than 70% occupancy, the hospital needed water and the hospital’s tanks could only last for a few days.

Bandar Puteri Residents’ Asso­ciation and Rukun Tetangga chairman Datuk Samson Maman said Ban­­dar Puteri Puchong was a food heaven with more than 100 restaurants.

“A water supply disruption could cause another round of health issues,” he said.

USJ 11/3M Residents Association vice-chairman M. Singam said his family might have to cancel Deepavali celebrations in view of the water supply problem.

Puven Nathan, 33, from USJ 14 in Subang Jaya, said his family only realised the water supply had been cut yesterday morning when they were getting ready for work.

Environment Dept monitoring pollution sources behind Selangor water disruption
New Straits Times 25 Oct 16;

PUTRAJAYA: The pollution that led to the water disruption in Selangor is being monitored closely by the Department of Environment.

Natural Resource and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, in a statement last night, said this was of serious concern as the disruptions in four districts affected 1.6 million people.

"The department has begun investigations to find the source of the pollution that led to the closure of the Sungai Semenyih Water Treatment Plant," he said of the closure on Sunday, the third since Sept 27.

"A team was mobilised on the same day, focusing their probe in the Nilai industrial and light industrial areas as well as another industrial area in the vicinity," he said of the locations in Negeri Sembilan.

The team is looking into the possibility of effluents flowing into the river via Sungai Buah, he said, adding the distance between the industrial areas to the intake point for the treatment plant was about 8.5km.

Following the first disruption last month, Wan Junaidi said a team dispatched to Nilai found the release of effluents by a premise operating in the Nilai industrial area adhered to requirements in accordance with the Environment Quality Act 1974.

To ensure results of the water quality were were acquired on other parmeters, samples were also sent to the Chemistry Department to be compared with the Malaysia Water Quality Standard.

Wan Junaidi said integrated monitoring among various state agencies in Negeri Sembilan have also been arranged. It involves the Environment Department, state Forestry department, Nilai Municipal Council and Negri Sembilan Water Regulatory Body.

"So far we have yet to find proof that point to possible sabotage. I suggest that if the Selangor Menteri Besar (Datuk Seri Azmin Ali) does have evidence related to the incident, he should lodge a police report about it," he added.

Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant resumes operations
The Star 24 Oct 16;

SHAH ALAM: The Sungai Semenyih Water Treatment Plant (WTP), which was closed Sunday due to odour pollution of the water, resumed operations Monday afternoon.

State Exco for Tourism, Environment, Green Technology and Consumer Affairs, Elizabeth Wong said the WTP had sent water to the reservoir since 1.30pm.

“Water supply will be restored gradually. Tankers will provide water to critical premises such as hospitals and dialysis centres,” she said in a statement Monday.

The affected areas were Bangi, Bandar Bukit Mahkota (Kajang), Semenyih and Rinching (Hulu Langat), Morib (Banting), Bandar Saujana Putra, Bandar Rimbayu and Telok Panglima (Kuala Langat), USJ 1 to 27, Puchong, Seri Kembangan and Serdang (Petaling), Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Bandar Nusa Putra, Putra Heights, Pulau Meranti, Kota Warisan, Bandar Bukit Puchong and Sungai Merab (Sepang).

Wong said users can get the latest status and details of the affected areas and the water supply restoration schedule via the smartphone application mySYABAS and

Selangor Water Management Board (Luas), Indah Water Konsortium (IWK), Sepang Municipal Council and Kajang Municipal Council had built bunds in Sungai Buah to divert the contaminated water.

Luas also made a police report and informed the Negri Sembilan Department of Environment (DOE) and samples were taken sent for laboratory tests.

“We believe that pollutants were disposed in Negri Sembilan knowing that they will reach Sungai Semenyih in Selangor,” she said.

Sungai Semenyih WTP was closed at 7.30am yesterday due to odour pollution of river water, suspected to originate from Nilai industrial area, Negri Sembilan.

Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali claimed that Sungai Semenyih WTP had been sabotaged, forcing it to be closed for the third time in a month and the fifth time this year. - Bernama

Water supply to Hulu Langat, Petaling, Sepang and Kuala Langat to return in stages
The Star 24 Oct 16;

PETALING JAYA: The Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant has resumed operations at 7pm Monday, following a brief shutdown because of odour pollution.

Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) said water supply to areas in Hulu Langat, Petaling, Sepang and Kuala Langat would be distributed in stages based on a schedule beginning Tuesday.

This is to allow a more efficient distribution of water supply during the restoration period, and to minimise the duration of water disruptions in the affected areas.

The schedule is divided into two zones. Zone 1 is expected to receive water at 4pm on Tuesday, and will be disconnected at 9am Wednesday.

Meanwhile Zone 2 will receive water at 4pm Wednesday until 9am Friday, followed by two-day supplies for each zone until Nov 2.

“The scheduled recovery process is only a temporary measure to help speed up the recovery process and the distribution of supplies to all the affected areas and prevent consumers from experiencing water supply disruption for long periods of time,” Syabas said in a statement.

It said that lorries carrying water would be mobilised in the meantime to affected areas, especially at critical premises and hospitals.

“We will closely monitor the recovery process and the scheduling will be reviewed from time to time,” it added.

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