Malaysia: Sungai Buah pollution has lasted too long for it to be an accident, says Minister

The Star 30 Oct 16;

KUCHING: A joint investigation into the source and cause of pollution in Sungai Buah, which flows into the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant, will be carried out soon.

Bernama quoted Natural Resour­ces and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar as saying that he had directed the Department of Environment (DoE) to conduct a probe with the Selangor government.

The water contamination has affected more than a million consumers in the Klang Valley.

“Those responsible must be identified and brought to book.

“We have a number of laws to deal with the culprits such as the Local Government Ordinance, DoE laws and regulations and others with heavier penalties for such offences,” he said after distributing RM173,500 in grants to 70 groups in Santubong here yesterday.

Dr Wan Junaidi said he believed the pollution was not an accident as the problem had persisted for the past few days.

“Whether the people or factory owners are careless, ignorant or not concerned at all about the impact of discharging their waste water into the river... we will get to the root of this.

“However, we will only investigate and then refer our findings to the Attorney-General’s Chambers to decide on the prosecution,” he said.

Dr Wan Junaidi said he had received numerous reports on the situation in Sungai Buah, said to be due to pollution discharges from industrial areas in Nilai, Negri Sembilan.

On Thursday, Selangor state exco member Elizabeth Wong said the substance contaminating Sungai Buah was 4-Bromodiphenyl ether, which is normally used as a fire retardant.

In Klang, Wong said water was now free of the substance after 10 tonnes of activated carbon was placed at the source of the contamination in Nilai, as well as in Sungai Buah in Negri Sembilan.

“The compound has bonded to the activated carbon. The river water now records zero reading in the Threshold Odour Number.

“However, the contaminated water at the source of the pollution in Nilai is still there and is being diverted to a nearby pond to be treated,” she added.

Wong said two more bunds were also being constructed to contain the overflow onsite and to treat the water.

Authorities had earlier built a bund across Sungai Buah to stop the water from flowing into Sungai Semenyih but it gave way after a heavy downpour on Friday, forcing the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant to cease operations at 4.15pm.

“We are building these bunds because if it rains heavily in Nilai, there will be too much volume and pressure on the existing bund,” she said, adding that activated carbon would also be placed at these bunds.

Wong also accused the water authorities in Negri Sembilan of refusing to help clean the source of pollution in Nilai.


Wan Junaidi: Integrated investigation into source, cause of Sungai Buah pollution
The Star 29 Oct 16;

KUCHING: An integrated investigation on the source and cause of pollution in Sungai Buah which flows into the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant will be carried out soon.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (pic) said he had directed the DOE director general to conduct the investigation together with the Selangor state government.

The contaminated water is affecting more than a million consumers in Klang Valley.

He told the media this, today, after distributing minor rural development project grants totalling RM173,500 to 70 associations and organisations in his Santubong parliamentary constituency here.

"We must identify and bring to book those responsible.

"We should use whatever laws we have and we have a number to deal with the culprits such as the Local Government Ordinance, DOE laws and regulations and others with heavier penalties for such offences," he said Saturday.

He believed the pollution was not done accidentally as the problem had persisted for the past two to three days.

"Whether people or the factory owners are careless, ignorant or not concerned at all of the impact of discharging their waste water into the river....we will get to the root of this.

"But I must emphasise here, we will only investigate and will then refer our findings to the Attorney-General's Chambers to decide on the prosecution," he said.

Wan Junaidi said he had received numerous reports on what was happening in Sungai Buah, said to be affected by pollution discharges from industrial areas in Nilai, Negri Sembilan. - Bernama


Polluted water still flowing to Semenyih treatment plant, say authorities
ESTHER LANDAU New Straits Times 29 Oct 16;

KUCHING: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry have received reports on contaminated water samples taken from Sungai Buah in Nilai, Negri Sembilan, which flows into the Sungai Semenyih Water Treatment Plant.

The closure of the plant due to pollution had affected some 1.6 million Selangor residents.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the ministry has taken several actions to resolve the water pollution problems, aided by a joint task force from the Federal and Selangor government, Department of Environment, Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas), and local authorities.

He said work has been ongoing to pump the polluted water out from Sungai Buah.

Repair works on bunds along the river also took place yesterday. However, as of 9pm, the polluted water is still flowing from the river to Semenyih and has affected the water treatment plant.

“Therefore, the water treatment plant had to stop operating,” said Wan Junaidi.

The minister was speaking at a grant-presentation ceremony to recipients of the Santubong district, at his office here today.

Compounding matters, the downpour last night worsened the situation as the odour pollution could still be detected.

He said the ministry had instructed the Department of Environment and Selangor Government to conduct a joint research to identify the culprits involved in the pollution.

Wan Junaidi said that the person or company, if found guilty of causing contamination to the river, could be charged under the Water Services Industry Act 2006, which he said would carry heavier penalties.


Dry taps put damper on Selangor folks' Deepavali celebration
JUNE MOH New Straits Times 29 Oct 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: For the Hindu community in USJ 4 Casablanca in Subang Jaya, the Selangor's water woes have definitely left a mark on their Deepavali celebrations.

USJ 4 Casablanca Residents' Association president Jeyanthy Pillai said the community at the area is not in the mood to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights due to inconsistent water supply that has practically disrupted their preparation for the occasion.

“On Deepavali eve, we were happy as water came trickling in our water pipes.

Today, there was no water in the morning and we are not able to cook heavy dishes like curry.

There is also no running water to clean our cooking utensils. We have to use water sparingly.

“I was able to cook some light dishes in the morning, such as coconut candies, Kara Murukku and Sweet Semolina Balls from the water we had collected yesterday,” Jeyanthy said.

Jeyanthi said she could not invite friends and relatives to her house due to the water cut in the morning but in the evening, when water supply resumed at around 4pm, she was able to cook main dishes for the occasion to have a late Deepavali celebration with her family.

Despite the water shortage, she said, the residents in USJ 4 Casa Blanca had been sending Deepavali wishes to one another in the community’s WhatApps group chat.

“During this entire water crisis, we made more friends with our neighbours, we started sharing and communicating... and we really started caring for each other, that is what life is all about, to create a loving heart for all living beings.” she said.

It was reported that the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant has resumed operations at 3.15am today, some 11 hours after it was forced to shut down yesterday.

The plant had to be temporarily closed at 4.15pm when the bund at Sungai Buah in Nilai, Negri Sembilan, built to stop contaminated water from flowing into Sungai Semenyih, broke during a downpour.



Water disruption dampens Deepavali celebrations
KATHLEEN MICHAEL The Star 29 Oct 16;

PETALING JAYA: The water disruption in four districts in Selangor has dampened the Deepavali celebrations.

The Petaling, Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat and Sepang districts were affected after the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant was shut down for the fourth time in two months on Oct 23.

The plant was shut down due to pollution, but was back in operation with water channelled to reservoirs in stages as of 3.15am Saturday.

S. Selvi, 50 who lives in Putra Permai, Seri Kembangan got her water supply back at 9am, but decided to celebration the rest of the day’s celebrations at her sister’s place in Klang.

“We’ve been depending on our water tank and for Deepavali, I cooked a lot less than I would normally, because we don’t know if water will be cut again,” she said.

In some other areas, residents like Lat Mayar, 52 in Bandar Puteri Puchong has decided to postpone celebrations because water supply has not resumed.

“My family’s celebration is quiet this year. I’ll be visiting homes instead of having an open house,” she said.

Though water tankers are sent to their area, she said they come at working hours when she is not around to collect water for her elderly parents.

She added that the water cuts is frustrating, as it does not follow the schedule.

In Bandar Bukit Puchong, P. Komalam, 67 has been miserable and stressed out over the water disruption but did not let it stop her from having an open house.

She served food in brown wax paper and drinks in paper cups.

“We had water a few days ago and I’ve stored enough but we still limit our use,” she said.

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