JOHOR BAHRU: Eighty per cent of the water supply in Johor's Kulai district was restored by noon on Friday (Apr 5), following water cuts due to ammonia pollution in Sungai Sayong, said Bukit Batu assemblyman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse.
Mr Puah, however, told CNA that it will take more time for water to reach users in areas of higher elevation.
A reservoir at a bio-composite centre next to an oil palm refinery in Sedenak burst on Wednesday at around 7am. This caused ammonia-contaminated water to flow into Sungai Sayong, one of the creeks that supplies raw water to the Johor River.
As a result, two water treatment plants – Sayong 1 and 2 – were shut down. The incident affected water supply to about 17,000 households in Johor.
The supply of water to Singapore was also disrupted after PUB's Johor River Waterworks halted treatment operations due to the high levels of ammonia in the river.
Nonetheless, PUB said water supply in Singapore was not affected as it had stepped up production at the desalination plants and local waterworks to meet demand.
Kulai Member of Parliament Teo Nie Ching, who is also the Deputy Education Minister, told CNA that the oil palm refinery has been instructed to stop work for two weeks.
“The order was issued by the Johor Water Regulatory Body (BAKAJ) and the Department of Environment,” she said.
Mr Puah, who is also the chairman of the Johor International Trade, Investment and Utility Committee reportedly said on Thursday that BAKAJ had cancelled the refinery’s water abstraction license with immediate effect.
He added on Friday that the refinery will also be fined for causing the pollution. “The exact amount will be determined based on the advice of the state legal adviser’s office,” Mr Puah said.
Residents noted that water supply has been gradually restored.
Kulai resident Kathleen Ann Kili, 28, said water supply to her neighbourhood resumed on Friday morning, although water pressure was lower than usual.
“There was no water supply since Thursday afternoon at about 3pm. By the time I woke up today (Friday) at 7am, water is flowing from the taps again,” she said.