SINGAPORE: In the first 11 months of this year, 128 contractors have been prosecuted and fined for a total of 203 offences involving unauthorised alterations and interference to the public drainage system or flouting Earth Control Measure (ECM) regulations.
This was revealed by Singapore's national water agency PUB in a press statement on Thursday (Dec 27).
The numbers represent an increase from 2017, which saw 104 contractors charged for a total of 141 offences.
Some of the more common offences include inadequate treatment capacity and lack of cut-off drains which separate clean water from silty water. As a result, silty water overflows from construction sites to nearby waterways during heavy rainfall.
These offences were discovered during PUB’s regular inspection of construction sites, as well as investigations arising from public feedback, said the agency.
PUB also told Channel NewsAsia that it conducted at least 6,000 checks this year.
“Silty discharge and unauthorised interference with drains and canals will result in accumulation of sediment and affect drainage capacity,” said Mr Yeo Keng Soon, PUB’s Director of Catchment and Waterways. “This in turn may cause flooding. It is important that the construction industry maintains high standards in its ECM and operations to protect our public drainage system.
"They need to do their part and ensure that our waterways are always kept clean and free flowing."
Punitive measures such as more frequent site inspections and tightened screening of their drainage and ECM plans will be imposed on repeat offenders, it added. Subsequent offences could also earn heavier penalties.
PUB said it adopts a proactive approach to work with the industry to share and encourage best practices about good ECM at construction sites.
"This include conducting joint seminars, sharing sessions on erosion and sediment control, providing tools for contractors to use and implement ECM effectively throughout various stages of the construction work."
This year, Welltech Construction Pte Ltd was fined S$11,200 for two counts of flouting the Sewerage and Drainage Act by discharging silty water into roadside drains on two occasions in November 2017 and January 2018, according to the release.
Last year they received four convictions for the same offence.
PUB said it has contacted repeat offenders to remind them to comply with drainage and ECM requirements since October this year.
“Advisory letters were issued to 17 contractors who have committed multiple offences within a one-year period. The letter serves to urge the contractors to improve the site supervision of their construction work and provide advice on best practices.
“The contractors are also strongly encouraged to share their drainage and ECM mitigation plans with PUB.
“In light of the monsoon season, PUB reminds contractors to keep their construction materials and debris clear of the public drain, and carry out regular checks to ensure that drains in the vicinity are free flowing and are not affected by their construction works.”