Stench in Singapore: Johor DOE issues stop work order to damaged chemical plant

Rizalman Hammim New Straits Times 30 Sep 17;

JOHOR BARU: The Johor Department of Environment (DOE) has issued a stop work order to a chemical plant in Pasir Gudang, which was pinpointed as the source of a chemical stench which enveloped parts of northern Singapore on Monday.

DOE director Datuk Dr Mohammad Ezanni Mat Salleh said the order was issued after the plant suffered a fire at one of its facilities earlier this month.

"The order will be in effect until the plant completes necessary remedial actions. We will make sure that the plant complies with the order before allowing it to resume operations," he said.

It was reported on Friday that Singapore's National Environment Agency (NEA) traced the source of a chemical stench that cloaked the north-eastern part of the Republic on Sept 25 to an industrial facility in Pasir Gudang.

The agency was reported as saying that it contacted the DOE for assistance after the smell was detected by distressed residents on Monday.

"The DOE… has traced the source… and is taking action against the operator," the NEA said.

On Monday, residents in Sengkang and Punggol, Singapore complained of an acrid, chemical stench that was later detected in areas such as Ang Mo Kio, Yishun, Seletar and Bishan. Thick smoke also hung over some of the affected areas, residents said.


Chemical stench: Johor issues stop-work order to Pasir Gudang plant
Straits Times 1 Oct 17;

JOHOR BARU • A chemical plant in the industrial town of Pasir Gudang that was identified as the source of a chemical stench which engulfed parts of Singapore has been issued a stop work order by the Johor Department of Environment (DOE).

"The order will be in effect until the plant completes necessary remedial actions. We will make sure that the plant complies with the order before allowing it to resume operations," the DOE director, Datuk Dr Mohammad Ezanni Mat Salleh, told the New Straits Times.

He said the order was issued in the wake of a fire at the plant earlier this month.

Singapore's National Environment Agency (NEA) had contacted the DOE for assistance after residents complained of an acrid, chemical stench on Monday.

Complaints first poured in from residents in Sengkang and Punggol, and later in estates such as Ang Mo Kio, Yishun, Seletar and Bishan. Thick smoke also hung over some of the affected areas, residents said.

A large zone in the 311 sq km town of Pasir Gudang is dedicated to heavy industries, and fumes and pollutants have drifted to Punggol in past incidents.

The industrial estate, established in the 1990s, is a little more than 1.5km across the Strait of Johor from Punggol, and controlled burning to get rid of waste gases is a common occurrence there.

The town is home to a port, power station and petrochemical companies, and those dealing in edible oils, steel and fertiliser.

Some in Singapore affected by the stench were worried that the gas might be toxic, but the NEA has assured the public that air monitoring stations detected only low and safe levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

VOCs are chemical compounds that easily enter the air.


Chemical stench incident: Johor Department of Environment issues stop work order to damaged chemical plant
Straits Times 30 Sep 17;

JOHOR BARU - The chemical plant in Pasir Gudang that was identified as the source of a chemical stench that engulfed parts of Singapore on Monday has been issued a stop work order by the Johor Department of Environment (DOE).

DOE director Datuk Dr Mohammad Ezanni Mat Salleh told The New Straits Times that the order was issued in the wake of a fire at the plant earlier this month.

"The order will be in effect until the plant completes necessary remedial actions. We will make sure that the plant complies with the order before allowing it to resume operations," he said.

Singapore's National Environment Agency (NEA) had contacted the DOE for assistance after the smell was detected by distressed residents on Monday. Subsequently, the foul odour was traced to the industrial facility in Pasir Gudang.

"The DOE… has traced the source… and is taking action against the operator," the NEA said.

Residents in Sengkang and Punggol had complained of an acrid, chemical stench that was later detected in areas such as Ang Mo Kio, Yishun, Seletar and Bishan. Thick smoke also hung over some of the affected areas, according to some residents.


Johor chemical plant that caused 'burning smell' in Singapore issued stop work order
Channel NewsAsia 30 Sep 17;

JOHOR BARU: A stop work order has been issued to a chemical plant in Pasir Gudang after it was pinpointed as the source of a strong burning smell that residents in many parts of Singapore complained about on Monday.

Malaysian news outlet New Straits Times reported on Saturday (Sep 30) that the Johor Department of Environment (DOE) issued the order after a fire broke out at one of the plant's facilities earlier this month.

DOE director Dr Mohammed Ezanni Mat Salleh said that the order will be in effect until the plant has completed necessary remedial actions.

"We will make sure that the plant complies with the order before allowing it to resume operations," he added.

On Friday, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said the strong smell had been traced to an industrial facility in Pasir Gudang. The agency said that it was working together with the DOE in the investigation.

Reports of the burning smell also led NEA to conduct checks on Singapore's industrial plants, but they were found to be operating normally. Air quality levels also remained "within safety limits", the agency said.


Stop work order issued to chemical plant responsible for stench in Singapore
ASYRAF KAMIL Today Online 30 Sep 17;

SINGAPORE – The Johor Department of Environment (DOE) has on Saturday (Sept 30) issued a stop work order to a chemical plant in Pasir Gudang, Malaysia, which was pinpointed as the source of a chemical stench that enveloped parts of northern Singapore last Monday.

According to Malaysian daily New Straits Times, Johor DOE director Dr Mohammad Ezanni Mat Salleh said the order was issued after the plant suffered a fire at one of its facilities earlier this month.

"The order will be in effect until the plant completes necessary remedial actions. We will make sure that the plant complies with the order before allowing it to resume operations," he told reporters.

The plant was already the subject of an investigation over the gas-like smell that plagued parts of northern Singapore last week.

Together with the Johor DOE, the NEA had identified the plant as the source of the stench. “(The DOE) is taking action against the operator,” the Singapore agency said in a statement posted on its Facebook page on Friday.

Complaints about the odour appeared on the online forums such as Reddit and Hardware Zone last Monday evening. Many netizens said that the smell appeared to be largely confined to the North-Eastern parts of Singapore in areas like Sengkang, Hougang, Buangkok and Ang Mo Kio.

Checks by the NEA and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on factories in affected areas had failed to find any anomalies that could have caused the gas smell.

The NEA then decided to enlist the help of its Malaysian counterparts to investigate further.

Similar complaints have surfaced in the past.

In 2013, there were complaints of a "foul odour" in Punggol and Sengkang. An NEA spokesman then said that the smell could have possibly "emanated from palm oil industries".

NEA however ruled out industries near Punggol as the cause of the smell, after inspections of their equipment, processes, operations and records "did not reveal any abnormalities or issues in their operations" that could be behind the "chemical smell as mentioned in the feedback".

Related link
Fire at Lotte facilities in Johor

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