JOHOR BAHRU: A "high-level of ammonia pollution" in Sungai Sayong has disrupted water supply to about 17,000 households in the Malaysian town of Kulai, The Star reported on Thursday (Apr 4).
The river, which supplies raw water to Sungai Johor, was affected after a reservoir at a bio-composite centre next to an oil palm refinery in Sedenak burst, causing the contaminated water to flow into the water body, said Johor International Trade, Investment and Utility Committee chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse.
"On Apr 3, ammonia pollution occurred ... starting around 7am as a result of a broken reservoir which caused water containing ammonia to flow into Sungai Sayong,” he said in a statement on Thursday, Malaysiakini reported.
Both Sayong water treatment plants had to be shut down because it "could not process the raw water due to high levels of ammonia," he added, as quoted by The Star.
The contaminated water forced three water treatment plants - Semangar, Sungai Johor and Tai Hong - to suspend operations on Thursday, he noted.
The authorities have taken the "necessary action" against the oil palm refinery by cancelling its raw water abstraction licence with immediate effect and serving a compound notice following the incident, Puah said, as reported by The Star.
"The Johor State Government will not compromise with irresponsible parties," he said.
He did not name the company involved in the incident or state the fine it would have to pay, Malaysiakini added.
Kulai was the only affected area, Puah noted.
The ammonia pollution also affected the supply of water to Singapore.
Singapore's national water agency PUB said late on Thursday that treatment operations at its Johor River Waterworks (JRWW) were halted earlier that afternoon due to the "high ammonia levels found in the Johor River".
While the stoppage disrupted JRWW's water supply to Singapore, PUB has stepped up production at desalination plants and local waterworks to meet demand, it said.
"Water supply in Singapore is not affected," said PUB.
"PUB is monitoring the raw water quality in Johor River closely and will resume abstraction and treatment of raw water when water quality is suitable," it added.