SINGAPORE: A construction company has been fined S$56,500 for damaging a large water main and carrying out unauthorised works at Dunearn Road in September 2019, which disrupted water supply to nearly 40 households in the area.
Feng Ming Construction was last month convicted of damaging a 500mm diameter water main and fined S$55,000, said PUB in a press release on Monday (Sep 14).
This is the highest fine imposed by the State Courts for water main damage under the Public Utilities Act to date, the agency added.
The company was also convicted and fined S$1,500 for carrying out unauthorised sheet piling installation works.
"SUBSTANTIAL LOSS" OF POTABLE WATER
On Sep 20, 2019, Feng Ming Construction was carrying out sheet piling works at Dunearn Road as part of the road widening project in the Bukit Timah area.
When a piling machine drove a steel sheet pile into the ground, it punctured a 500mm diameter water main at a depth of 2.5m under the road surface, said PUB.
"PUB was alerted and immediately went on site to isolate the leak and carry out urgent repair works, which uncovered a hole of about 100mm by 30mm on the water main," said the agency.
"The damage led to substantial loss of approximately 468,000L of potable water, enough to fill about one-fifth of an Olympic-sized swimming pool."
Water supply to 38 households in the area was disrupted for about nine-and-a-half hours as a result of the incident, said PUB. A water wagon was deployed and water bags were provided to the affected households.
Investigations showed that Feng Ming Construction was aware of the existence of an underground water main, as indicated in the PUB water service plan.
"However, the contractor had failed to carry out sufficient trial trenching evaluation to physically ascertain the exact location and alignment of the water main," said PUB.
Under the Public Utilities Act, the penalty for damaging a water main or connecting pipe with a diameter of 300mm or more is a fine of up to S$200,000, a jail term of up to three years, or both.
This was the second time that Feng Ming Construction had been convicted of damaging a large water main, added PUB.
The company was also convicted and fined S$40,000 for damaging a 300mm diameter water main at Geylang Lorong 1 in October 2013.
In relation to the works at Dunearn Road in 2019, the firm had also started sheet piling works without submitting a plan for PUB's approval as required, said the agency.
Under the Public Utilities (Protection of Water Pipes Infrastructure) Regulations 2017, contractors installing sheet piles or any other similar installations must ensure that the activity is carried out in accordance to an approved plan.