SINGAPORE: Authorities will take action against a contractor who built a temporary access road to its construction site at Tampines Avenue 12 without approval, said Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli in Parliament on Monday (Feb 5).
In building the access road, Huationg Contractor blocked a ditch near the worksite, worsening flash floods in the area on Jan 8.
If found guilty, the contractor can be fined up to S$20,000.
Tampines Avenue 12 was among nine locations in eastern Singapore that experienced flash floods that morning, as a result of intense rainfall that exceeded the capacity of drains.
But national water agency PUB’s investigations revealed that flooding on Tampines Avenue 12 was aggravated by the blocked ditch.
At a media briefing last month, PUB explained that stormwater from the construction site and a field next to it would typically flow into the ditch before being discharged into Sungei Tampines.
However, the building of the unauthorised access road completely obstructed the flow of the ditch. As a result, stormwater ended up flowing into the roadside drain along Tampines Avenue 12, which was already overwhelmed by the heavy rainfall on Jan 8, said PUB.
Mr Masagos said contractors have to submit plans to divert drains, while keeping the original drain design intact so that rainfall meant for that drain does not “affect surrounding areas”.
“This has worked most of the time,” he said.
“When we have flash floods occurring in areas we know do not frequently experience flash floods, it’s usually because the contractors have not implemented what they are supposed to do or implemented something else to make their work site accessible or easier to work on.”
PUB confirmed with Channel NewsAsia that it would charge Huationg Contractor under the Sewerage and Drainage Act.
“The charge is under Sector 23(1) for closing up the drainage system without obtaining approval from the Board and carries a fine not exceeding S$20,000,” PUB added.
Mr Masagos also responded to questions on the Jan 8 flooding, saying that only two of the nine locations had a history of flash floods. They are Tampines Road (opposite Jalan Teliti) and Arumugam Road.
Of the nine, eight also are low lying and susceptible to flash floods. The minister reiterated that PUB is already carrying out drainage improvement works in these areas.