SINGAPORE: Two construction companies were fined S$77,000 in August last year for damaging potable water mains, said Singapore’s national water agency PUB on Thursday (Jan 3).
The damage caused by HSC Pipeline Engineering and SNK Engineering & Trading resulted in the loss of more than 6,400 cubic metres of water – nearly equivalent to the amount needed to fill three Olympic-sized swimming pools.
HSC, which was fined S$47,000, was charged for damaging a 1.2m-diameter water main at a work site at the junction of Woodlands Avenues 8 and 9.
The incident happened on Dec 17, 2016, while the company was carrying out underground pipe-jacking works, said PUB in the media release.
"Before carrying out any work in the vicinity of water mains, the contractor is required to carry out trial trenches or holes to determine the alignment and depth of the water mains," said PUB.
The company is also required to submit necessary documents to obtain PUB's approval before starting work, added the agency.
In this incident, HSC failed to ascertain the location of the water main, and damaged it while using the jacking machine.
The water supply had to be shut down and PUB also received complaints of discoloured water from nearby commercial premises.
The company previously damaged a 150mm-diameter pipe in June 2013, and was fined S$3,000 then, added PUB.
In the case of SNK, the sub-contractor was constructing a new drain and walkway at Cecil Street on Oct 2 last year when it damaged a 300mm-diameter water main.
PUB said the company punctured a hole in the water main while it was hacking the existing drain. This resulted in the loss of 360 cubic metres of water.
"The company failed to abide by PUB’s protection guidelines on working near water mains, and did not exercise the necessary precautions to minimise the risk of damage," it added.
This was SNK's first offence and the company was fined S$30,000.
Mr Ridzuan Ismail, PUB’s director of water supply (network) department, urged all contractors to ensure measures are in place when carrying out works near water mains.
“Water mains are important infrastructure that convey treated water from PUB’s water treatment plants and service reservoirs to the homes and offices in Singapore," said Mr Ridzuan.
"In severe cases, damaged mains can lead to a disruption in water supply or discoloured water to nearby amenities and cause inconvenience to users."