SINGAPORE: An engineering consultancy firm was fined S$48,000 after it caused damage to a water main while constructing tunnels for the Thomson-East Coast Line, said national water agency PUB on Wednesday (Feb 5).
The damage resulted in a water loss of more than 4.3 million litres.
Ryobi Geotechnique International was carrying out ground boring works on Dec 26, 2018 to install a piezometer near to the water main when the incident occurred, said PUB in the release.
"The company did not determine the exact alignment and depth of the water main nor consult PUB on the location of the water main when it could not locate it, and instead proceeded with the drilling works," said PUB.
Investigations revealed that Ryobi Geotechnique drilled 3.6m deep when they encountered obstruction and water flowing out onto the ground.
The firm also did not get approval from PUB to carry out the works near the main or take precautions to minimise risk of damage to the water main, said the agency.
With a diameter of about 2.2m, the affected main is one of Singapore's largest, supplying water from the Changi NEWater factories to the western parts of the island, said PUB.
The damage caused a "huge round crack", resulting in a significant loss of water which can fill up nearly two Olympic-sized swimming pools, PUB added.
Deep excavation works were carried out over two days to locate and repair the leakage, where a round crack about 10cm long was found on the NEWater main.
The incident happened during construction works for the Thomson-East Coast Line tunnels along Sungei Bedok opposite Bedok Ria Crescent.
"PUB takes a serious view against these acts of water main damage and resulting water wastage, which can be prevented if due diligence is exercised," said the agency.
It added that contractors should always refer to PUB’s advisory on the prevention of damage to water pipe infrastructure before construction works.
They must also be cautious when carrying out works near water mains to make sure that adequate measures are in place, PUB said.
The penalty for causing damage to PUB water mains with a diameter of 300mm or more is a fine up to S$200,000, or jail for up to three years, or both.
Offences for carrying out works within the vicinity of water mains without an approved plan from PUB carry a fine of up to S$10,000.