Local contractor Everrise Maintenance Pte Ltd was convicted of two charges and fined a total of $8,500 on 1 Dec 2020 for failing to ensure that regulated works were carried out by a Licensed Plumber and causing contamination to water supplied by PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency.
The offences were committed on 8 September 2020, at Waterford Residence, a private condominium at Kim Yan Road. PUB received calls from residents detecting a smell in the water on 9 September 2020 and immediately deployed our officers to do joint investigation with the condominium’s Managing Agent (MA). The smell was traced to one of the two compartments in the high-level water tank, which was immediately isolated to conduct flushing works. The MA also conducted a full flush of the service pipes, which led to disruption of water supply to 60 residential units in the affected block for about three hours.
Investigations revealed that Everrise Maintenance, a local contractor hired by the MA for Waterford Residence, was tasked to carry out repair works, after a crack line measuring approximately 10cm was found on the external surface of the water tank cover of one of the condominium’s high-level tanks during a site inspection with PUB. Such repair works are regulated works that should be carried out by a Licensed Plumber, or by workers under the direct supervision of one. Instead of hiring a Licensed Plumber, Everrise instructed its workers to patch up the crack line without proper instructions. The workers proceeded to apply sealant on both the exterior as well as the interior of the water tank cover, thus causing water inside the tank to be contaminated.
Ensuring proper maintenance and safety of water service installations
Under the Public Utilities (Water Supply) Regulations, building owners are responsible for ensuring the proper maintenance and security of their water service installations, including water storage tanks. As part of regular maintenance, they are required to engage a Licensed Plumber annually to inspect, clean and certify that their water storage tanks are fit and safe for the storage of potable water. The MA has since changed the water tank cover under the supervision of a Licensed Plumber.
If there are any defects, building owners are required to hire a Licensed Plumber to rectify or supervise the work to be carried out. It is the duty of the appointed Licensed Plumber to ensure that any work done is carried out in accordance with PUB’s requirements including the Public Utilities (Water Supply) Regulations, Singapore Standard SS 636 – Code of Practice for Water Services, Authorities’ requirements and other statutory requirements.
PUB issues circulars twice every year to remind customers of their responsibilities to ensure proper maintenance and security of their water service installations and inform us of any incidents. PUB also conducts independent inspections on the buildings to ensure that the annual inspection and certification of water tanks are carried out in accordance with PUB’s stipulated requirements1.
“PUB supplies wholesome drinking water to all homes and businesses, and we take a serious view about water safety. We would like to remind all customers and building owners that regulated work on all water service installations, including water storage tanks, must be carried out by a Licensed Plumber. Building owners are also responsible for the regular maintenance of the water service installations, including the need to engage a Licensed Plumber to inspect and certify, at least once every 12 months, that the tanks are fit and safe for the storage of potable water and free from contamination or pollution, and ensure that there is no leakage or likelihood of leakage in the water service installations,” said Mr Ridzuan Ismail, Director of Water Supply (Network), PUB.
Under the Public Utilities Act, causing contamination to water supplied by PUB carries a maximum fine of $50,000 while failure to ensure that regulated works are carried out by a Licensed Plumber carries a maximum fine of $10,000.