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Contractor fined S$8,500 after water contamination detected at River Valley condo

Contractor fined S$8,500 after water contamination detected at River Valley condo

A crack was found on Aug 24, 2020 on one of the high-level water tank covers in Waterford Residence at Kim Yan Road. (Photo: PUB)

SINGAPORE: A contractor has been fined S$8,500 for failing to ensure that a licensed plumber was conducting regulated works at a private condominium along Kim Yan Road, causing contamination to water supply, national water agency PUB said on Monday (Dec 28).

The firm was convicted of two charges, with the offences committed on Sep 8 at Waterford Residence.

PUB said it received calls on Sep 9 from residents who had detected a smell in the water and deployed its officers to do a joint investigation with the condominium's managing agent. 

"The smell was traced to one of the two compartments in the high-level water tank, which was immediately isolated to conduct flushing works. 

"The managing agent also conducted a full flush of the service pipes, which led to disruption of water supply to 60 residential units in the affected block for about three hours," said PUB.

Waterford Residence has completed the replacement of the water tank cover on Sep 26, 2020.

Investigations revealed Everrise Maintenance, a local contractor the managing agent had hired for the condo, was tasked to carry out repair work after a crack line measuring approximately 10cm was found on the external surface of a water tank cover during a PUB site inspection. 

"Such repair works are regulated works that should be carried out by a licensed plumber or by workers under the direct supervision of one," said PUB.

Instead of hiring a licensed plumber, Everrise instructed its workers to patch up the crack line without proper instructions. The workers applied sealant on both the exterior as well as the interior of the water tank cover, causing water inside the tank to be contaminated.  

The condo management has since changed the water tank cover under the supervision of a licensed plumber, said PUB. 

BUILDING OWNERS RESPONSIBLE FOR PROPER MAINTENANCE

Under the Public Utilities (Water Supply) Regulations, building owners are responsible for ensuring the proper maintenance and security of their water service installations, including water storage tanks. 

"As part of regular maintenance, they are required to engage a licensed plumber annually to inspect, clean and certify that their water storage tanks are fit and safe for the storage of potable water," said PUB, adding that a licensed plumber should rectify or supervise the work to be carried out if they are defects. 

PUB said it issues circulars twice every year to remind customers of their responsibilities to ensure proper maintenance and security of their water service installations, as well as informing the agency of any incidents. 

It also conducts independent inspections on buildings to ensure that the annual inspection and certification of water tanks are carried out in accordance with PUB's stipulated requirements. 

"PUB supplies wholesome drinking water to all homes and businesses, and we take a serious view about water safety. 

"We would like to remind all customers and building owners that regulated work on all water service installations, including water storage tanks, must be carried out by a licensed plumber," said Mr Ridzuan Ismail, Director of Water Supply (Network), PUB.

Under the Public Utilities Act, causing contamination to water supplied by PUB carries a maximum fine of S$50,000. Failure to ensure that regulated works are carried out by a licensed plumber carries a maximum fine of S$10,000.

Source: CNA/lk(hs)

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