PUB stops Johor water treatment operations due to ammonia pollution in river

Image credit to Bernama.

A high level of ammonia pollution in Johor’s Sayong River, which has disrupted water supply to about 17,000 households in Kulai, also forced Singapore’s national water agency PUB to stop treatment operations at its waterworks in Johor yesterday afternoon.

In a statement released last night, PUB said the shutdown at Johor River Waterworks, which it owns and runs, has disrupted its water supply to Singapore and some parts of Johor.

But water supply in Singapore is not affected, the agency added, as it has stepped up local production at the desalination plants and waterworks to meet demand.

It said it is monitoring the raw water quality in Johor River closely and “will resume abstraction and treatment of raw water when water quality is suitable”.

Under the 1962 Water Agreement, Singapore can draw up to 250 million gallons of water a day from Johor River, and is obliged to provide Johor with treated water up to two per cent of the water imported. Singapore has been supplying more to Johor at its request.

According to Malaysian newspaper The Star, the ammonia pollution has disrupted water supply to about 17,000 households in the town of Kulai.

Jimmy Puah, chairman of Johor International Trade, Investment and Utility Committee and assemblyman of Bukit Patu constituency, told The Star that a reservoir at a bio-composite centre next to an oil palm refinery in Sedenak had burst on Wednesday morning, causing the ammonia-contaminated water to flow into Sungai Sayong.

He added that the authorities have taken the necessary action against the oil palm refinery by cancelling its raw water abstraction licence and serve a compound notice following the incident.