Malaysia’s environment agency issues detention order against Selangor factory suspected of causing water cut
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Department of Environment (DOE) has issued an equipment operation detention order against a factory suspected of polluting Selangor’s Sungai Semenyih, which resulted in water supply disruption in Selangor.
The department’s director-general Wan Abdul Latiff Wan Jaffar said in a statement on Wednesday (May 5) that DOE had carried out investigations on premises along Sungai Semenyih, especially those at the Beranang industrial area, to trace the cause of the pollution.
Samples of an oil and water mixture were also taken for further investigations, and the factory in question was slapped with the detention order, he added.
Mr Wan Abdul Latiff stated that further action under Malaysia’s Environmental Quality Act would be carried out once chemical analysis results were obtained.
“If found guilty, the premises’ representatives may be fined up to RM100,000 (US$23,761) or face a maximum jail term of five years, or both, as well as additional fines of up to RM1,000 for each day of the offence,” the director-general said in his statement.
The DOE had received a complaint of diesel-like odour pollution on May 1, according to the statement. Operations at the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant operation were suspended on May 3, it added.
An unscheduled water cut was announced by Air Selangor, the state-owned concessionaire responsible for the state’s water supply, on May 3, following the temporary shutdowns of the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant at 6.15am and the Bukit Tampoi water treatment plant at 11.30am.
The shutdowns were due to the detection of pollution at the intake of the Jenderam Hilir raw water pump station, the water concessionaire said.
Sharing updates on the water cuts on Twitter on May 3, Selangor Chief Minister Amirudin Shari said: “This is the third pollution incident in the same place this week.”
Water supply to the 472 affected areas was fully restored on May 4 morning.
Earlier on Apr 30, the state experienced an unscheduled water supply disruption after odour pollution was detected at the Jenderam Hilir raw water pump station.
As a result, the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant was temporarily shut down for 12 hours for a clean-up. The water cut had affected 463 areas.
During the disruption, Air Selangor mobilised water tankers to assist consumers.
In his Wednesday statement, the DOE director-general said the department would continue to investigate and check on all premises which have the potential to commit pollution offences, warning stern action against errant operators.
Mr Wan Abdul Latiff also called on the public to assist the DOE in tackling such cases. Rewards would be offered if a culprit is successfully apprehended, he said.
In October 2020, Mr Amirudin said the state government would spend RM200 million on river pollution mitigation efforts.
Amendments to the Water Management Board Enactment to impose higher fines for water pollution violations were passed in November the same year.