No disruption to waste management in Singapore after fatal accident shut down Tuas incineration plant: NEA
SINGAPORE: Waste collection and management services in Singapore have not been disrupted even as a fatal accident at the Tuas incineration plant has forced it to stop operations, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Tuesday (Sep 28).
"Waste collection and management services in Singapore continues without disruption as there is sufficient capacity in the other waste-to-energy plants," an NEA spokesperson said in response to queries from CNA.
"There is no impact to energy production, as the waste is incinerated at other waste-to-energy plants."
This comes after two NEA officers died following a "localised explosion" in an electrical switch room at the NEA-operated Tuas plant on Sep 23.
The first, a 65-year-old senior engineering manager, was pronounced dead at the scene. The second, an executive engineering manager, died of injuries three days after the incident. A third employee, an engineering manager, was in intensive care as on Sunday.
All three employees were in the switch room when the blast happened.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force had said the fire involved a chimney fan switch in the room. About 80 people had self-evacuated from the premises.
NEA had said that the Tuas plant's operations had been wound down since the incident, which means it is not receiving or incinerating any waste.
The Tuas plant, built in 1986, is the oldest of Singapore's four waste-to-energy incinerators. The others are the Senoko waste-to-energy plant, Tuas South incineration plant, and Keppel Seghers Tuas waste-to-energy plant.
The Tuas plant can process 1,400 tonnes of solid waste a day. Together with the Senoko plant (2,100 tonnes per day), Tuas South plant (3,000 tonnes per day) and the Keppel Seghers Tuas plant (800 tonnes per day), the four plants can treat about 7,300 tonnes of solid waste a day.
Singapore generated about 5.9 million tonnes of waste in 2020, with about 3 million tonnes recycled, according to NEA statistics.
A fifth plant in the upcoming Integrated Waste Management Facility, projected to be ready in 2025, will able to process an additional 5,800 tonnes of waste per day.
A sixth plant, TuasOne, is expected to add a further 3,600 tonnes of incineration capacity per day. Construction was slated to finish in May 2019, but was delayed after one of the project's partners, Hyflux, ran into financial trouble.
Solid waste is sent to the plants for incineration, which reduces the volume of the waste by about 90 per cent and produces steam that runs turbine-generators to generate electricity, NEA said on its website.
The incinerated ash and other non-incinerable wastes are then transported to the Semakau Landfill for disposal. The Government's aim is to send 30 per cent less waste to the landfill by 2030 to help it last longer than the estimated 2035.
"Tuas incineration plant will resume operations at a date to be determined after investigations are completed," the NEA spokesperson told CNA.