Civil engineering company Tong Shing Contractors has been fined SGD$41,500 on two charges – for causing damage to a 700mm diameter potable water main and carrying out works within a water pipe corridor without PUB’s prior approval. This is the former’s first conviction.
The incident occurred on December 2018 when Tong Shing was carrying out pipe jacking works as part of road-widening and infrastructure works. The head of the pipe jacking machine struck the 700mm water main at a depth of about 3.7m below the road surface and punctured it. The leak results in the loss of 1.8 million litres of potable water.
Singapore’s national water agency PUB was alerted and went on site to isolate the leak and carry out urgent repair works, which uncovered a hole of about 300mm on the water main. According to PUB, investigations revealed that Tong Shing did not carry out adequate site verification works to physically ascertain the exact location and alignment of the affected water main before commencement of works. In addition, Tong Shing proceeded with pipe jacking works without submitting a plan for PUB’s approval as required, and failed to take all reasonable precautious to minimise the risk of damage.
In a statement, PUB stressed it takes a serious view of water main damage resulting in water wastage which can be prevented if due diligence is exercised. The agency recommended contractors should always refer to PUB’s advisory on the prevention of damage to water pipe infrastructure before carrying out any construction works. They must also exercise caution when carrying out works near water mains and ensure that adequate measures are in place to prevent damage.