KUALA LUMPUR: About 1.2 million consumers in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur affected by the ongoing water disruption will need to wait for a minimum of four days before regular supply resumes, said Air Selangor's chief executive officer Suhaimi Kamaralzaman.
In a press conference on Friday (Sep 4), Mr Suhaimi said the water concessionaire would only be able to resume the treating and pumping of the water at Sungai Selangor Phase 1, 2, 3 and Rantau Panjang water treatment plants, when the Threshold Odour Number (TON) of the water is measured at 0 TON for three consecutive times.
“As of 2.30pm, the pollution level detected is at 1 TON and that is an unsafe level. Therefore, the plants are still not in operation.
“Everyone does not get the magnitude of the problem. This is not a small fry problem, it is a big problem. We do not want to take 1 TON polluted water and process it. We do not want to give consumers smelly water,” he said.
He added that the intervals between tests would be 30 minutes.
"We are hoping for it to go down to zero very soon. We are hopeful because it went down from 3 TON yesterday to 1 TON now. However, I do not dare to make a prediction as it would be dependent on the flow of the river and its dilution levels," he said.
“Based on our current simulation, it would take a minimum of four days after we begin re-operating the plants for consumers to begin getting the water supply. But we cannot schedule accurately until we actually begin the process as it would be subject to the water levels in the reservoirs and all of that,” Mr Suhaimi explained.
According to United Kingdom-based Water Research Center, the TON of pollutant in water can be determined by adding a volume of unpolluted water into a volume of polluted water, and then divide the total volume by the volume of polluted water.
The more water needed to make the odour undetectable, the higher the TON reading.
Over 1,292 areas in seven districts have been affected by water disruption since the early hours of Thursday, after pollution was detected at the raw water source of the four water treatment plants.
Air Selangor said in a statement on Thursday that the pollution level was detected at 3 TON.
Earlier on Friday, Selangor Chief Minister Amirudin Shari said that one of the factories behind the cause of contamination in Sungai Selangor has been shut down by authorities for two weeks.
“This unscheduled water disruption is caused by a factory that is believed to have released harmful solvent into Sungai Gong. With regard to the contamination that resulted in the water treatment plants being shut down, the factory in question has been confiscated and closed.
“Efforts to rid the water of the source of contamination has been going non-stop since last night to ensure the water is clean and safe for consumption,” he said.
The chief minister added that efforts are being made to clean the water. This included using activated carbon to reduce the bad odour, pumping 400 gallons of water from the Bestari Jaya water catchment and releasing water from the Sungai Tinggi dam to flush and dilute the contaminated water.
He also said that 78 tankers, 22 jumbo tankers, 54 static tanks, 18 local service centres, eight public taps, as well as 23,000 bottles of five-litre drinking water have been distributed to help those affected.
The Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources said in a statement that evidence has been collected from the suspected premise to be analysed.
“The authorities are waiting for the results of the analysis for further action and the premise has been suspended for two weeks," it said.
“Site remediation works have begun immediately to ensure remnants of the pollutants are not left at the river banks or the main river flow."