SINGAPORE: A total of 38 companies have been prosecuted for illegally discharging trade effluent, or liquid waste, into public sewers, said national water agency PUB in a press release on Monday (Jun 10).
The companies were prosecuted between June 2018 and May 2019, and fined a total of S$253,700. Eighteen of these companies were repeat offenders and given harsher penalties.
Offences ranged from the discharge of trade effluent containing regulated metals or chemical substances exceeding allowable limits, to more serious offences of discharging trade effluent containing dangerous or hazardous substances, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Bakery and food manufacturing company BreadTalk was fined a total S$16,300 for multiple instances of discharging trade effluent containing regulated chemicals exceeding allowable concentration limits into public sewers in June 2016 and April 2017.
The fine for BreadTalk was the highest among the 38 companies.
BreadTalk has not responded to CNA's request for comments.
"Trade effluent that is illegally discharged into public sewers poses significant risks to public health and the environment," said PUB.
"These types of acts can cause fires in the sewers and may threaten PUB’s treatment of used water."
The offences were discovered by PUB during site inspections, as well as its surveillance of the public sewerage system.
Tat Seng Packaging Group, a printing and packaging company, was fined S$14,100 for discharging trade effluent containing a regulated chemical and metal exceeding allowable concentration limits on three occasions in June 2016, December 2017 and March 2018.
"PUB carries out surveillance of trade and industrial premises through regular inspections and views any non-compliant discharge very seriously," said the agency.
"Beyond harsher penalties, recalcitrant and high-risk companies will also be placed on PUB’s surveillance list and subjected to more frequent inspections."
Under the Sewerage and Drainage Act, the illegal discharge of trade effluent containing dangerous or hazardous substances into the public sewer carries a fine of up to S$50,000 for the first offence and a maximum fine of S$100,000 for repeat offenders.