Malaysia: No evidence to link industries with foul odour

SARBAN SINGH The Star 1 Nov 16;

SEREMBAN: The Department of Environ­ment (DOE) has narrowed its probe into the contamination of Sg Buah to a lorry spilling its cargo of palm oil-related products at 45.9km mark of the Elite Highway following an accident on Oct 22.

State director Norhazni Mat Sari said the DOE was trying to establish those involved in the accident and would summon them to record their statements.

“After conducting thorough checks, we found no evidence to link any of the 59 industries operating in Nilai as claimed by some quarters earlier.

“We have sent soil and river water samples from the accident site to the Chemistry Department for analysis,” she told reporters after a dialogue with representatives from the industries at her office.

Norhazni said under Section 38 of the Environmental Quality Act, the DOE was empowered to summon any party for questioning when probing such matters.

She said industries were duty bound under the law to notify the DOE whenever such accidents happened, adding that in the Oct 22 case, the DOE was not notified.

“We found out about the accident two days later when investigating what caused the river water to emit a strange odour,” she said.

The water authorities in Selangor had to shut down the Sg Semenyih water treatment plant on Oct 28, upon detecting a strong odour in raw water sourced from Sg Buah.

It also built three bunds at the confluence of Sg Buah and Sg Semenyih to prevent water from flowing to the treatment plant.

Since then, the Selangor authorities had also used powder activated carbon to neutra­lise the odour at the stretch which runs in the state.

To a claim by the Selangor government that the section of Sg Buah was contaminated by a chemical known as 4-bromodiphenyl ether – a compound typically used as a flame retar­dant – Norhazni said this could only be confirmed after samples sent to the Chemistry Department had been analysed.

Asked on the purpose of the meeting, Norhazni said this was to get their commitment that the industries in Nilai would not discharge hazardous chemicals into Sg Buah – an important source of raw water.

She said during the dialogue, the DOE instructed all industries licensed to discharge treated effluents into Sg Buah to conduct daily tests to ensure their activities did not pollute the river.

“We will send them notices today on the need for a guided self-regulation.

“My officers will drop in at any time at their premises to inspect these records,” she added.

Norhazni said at present, these industries were required to keep records of effluents discharged into Sg Buah weekly or monthly, depending on the type of treated effluent released.

“Of the 59, 14 industries are licensed to do so,” she said.

All 59 factories in Nilai, comply with Negri Sembilan's environmental standards: State DoE
ZAIDI ISHAM ISMAIL New Straits Times 31 Oct 16;

SEREMBAN: All 59 factories in the Nilai Industrial Park, Nilai College Heights and Arab Malaysia Industrial Park comply with all of the environmental regulations and standards set by the state's Department of Environment.

Its director Norhazni Mat Sari reiterated that pending a report by the Chemistry Department, there is no evidence to show that the factories are behind the pollution in Sungai Semenyih in Selangor.

"We have already collected samples from Sungai Buah and pending a report by the Chemistry Department, there is no proof to indicate that the factories in Nilai are the source of the odour pollution in Sungai Semenyih.

"Nevertheless, we at the Negri Sembilan DoE will continue to beef up our efforts to make sure that industries comply with our rules and regulations and not pollute the environment by throwing effluent and other waste into the river," Norhazni told reporters here yesterday.

Norhazni was commenting on the odour pollution in Sungai Buah in Negri Sembilan which is one of the river tributaries which flows into Sungai Semenyih.

Selangor state government has accused Nilai Industrial Park as the source of the odour pollution which has caused numerous water cuts in the past month at the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant affecting over 1.8 million water consumers across the districts of Kuala Langat, Hulu Langat, Petaling and Sepang.

"I would also like to stress that there is no illegal factories operating along the banks of Sungai Buah which is 8.5km away from Sungai Semenyih and land is mostly agriculture land.

Norhazni said the department has also instructed the factories which comprise mainly of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) to carry out daily tests called Guided Self Regulation as well online environment reporting to ensure that effluence does not contain pollutants and are safe in accordance with the National Water Quality Standard.

"Our officers also make daily visits at the industrial premises in the vicinity of Nilai and we are also working closely with the competent person appointed by each factory to make sure that their industrial effluence comply with the department’s safe water parameters."

Selangor dismisses road accident factor in Sungai Buah pollution
ALLISON LAI The Star 3 Nov 16;

SHAH ALAM: Selangor has refuted the possibility that spillage from road accidents caused the pollution in Sungai Buah in Negri Sembilan last week.

Selangor state exco for tourism, environment, green technology and consumer affairs Elizabeth Wong (PKR-Bukit Lanjan), in her debate speech for the state 2017 budget, revealed that the two road accidents said to have caused it took place about a kilometre away from the river's point of pollution.

"The accidents happened at KM46.2 northbound towards Shah Alam and KM46.4 on Elite Highway towards Kuala Lumpur at the exit to the North-South Expressway respectively.

"The ground zero of the pollution is at KM45.9 of the Elite Highway, on a slope near a columbarium in Nilai.

"We received the initial report last week that the spillage was identified as glycerine – an odourless, non-toxic liquid.

"So it is very unlikely for the accidents to be the cause of pollution," she said here Thursday, in reply to an additional question by Sulaiman Abd Razak (BN-Permatang)

On Oct 26, Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohamad Hasan said that a technical report on Hulu Sungai Buah in Negri Sembilan showed no signs of pollution, which caused the closure of the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant.

He said the report by the Environment Department, Drainage and Irrigation Department, Forestry Department, State Water Regulatory Authority and Nilai Municipal Council showed no elements of pollution in the areas involved, except for an overturned lorry tanker as a possible cause.

Sulaiman then questioned why the police report lodged by the Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas) did not allege sabotage as the cause and only identified the spillage at the site.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (PKR-Bukit Antarabangsa) then said it was the police's responsibility to conduct a comprehensive investigation whenever a report was lodged.

"It is up to the police to find out if the incident was caused by industrial factory, illegal activities or sabotage.

"The report is only to inform the police that Sungai Buah was polluted and police will investigate from all angles," he said.

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