Singapore

Family suffers stink and filth from sewage for two days

Sewage water floods Ang Mo Kio flat - on 
both Saturday & Sunday

Over the past week, this family has been sleeping with the stench of sewage in the air.

Hawker Tan Siew Tin, 53, told The New Paper yesterday that raw sewage flowed out of a clogged pipe in the master bedroom toilet on two separate occasions last Saturday and Sunday.

On both evenings, the foul-smelling murky liquid covered the floor of her three-room flat on the second storey of Block 606, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5.

She said the stench still lingers in the flat she shares with her husband and their 17-year-old son.

"For the past week, I have been spraying disinfectant in the flat to keep it clean," said Madam Tan. "I also spray perfume in all the rooms to get rid of the smell. I hope the stench will go away soon."

The family's ordeal began last Saturday.

Madam Tan was watching TV in the living room at around 9pm when her son came out of his bedroom and saw water covering the living room floor.

Madam Tan, who has been living in the unit for about six years, said: "He asked me if I had been pouring water onto the floor and I said, 'no'. Puzzled, we went to investigate and found out to our horror that the water came from a pipe in the master bedroom toilet."

They called the Ang Mo Kio Town Council and contractors arrived about an hour later to fix the problem.

When the flow of filthy water stopped, she cleaned her flat from top to bottom and only completed the chore at 12.30am the next day.

But the foul episode was far from over.

At around 7pm on Sunday, the whole family was sitting on the living room floor watching TV when they noticed their clothes getting soaked.

They got up and saw that the floor was wet - a second time.

Upset, they rushed to the master bedroom toilet and saw that water was again flowing out of the affected pipe.

She said: "The flow was stronger than the one on Saturday. I was shocked and was not prepared for this at all."

All three immediately ran out of the flat as they feared that the unit would soon be flooded.

They called the town council again. Ang Mo Kio Town Council confirmed that the household called the Essential Maintenance Service Unit (EMSU) hotline last Saturday and Sunday.

Its spokesman said that the EMSU deployed contractors to the flat to rectify the problem and the water subsided.

Responding to queries from TNP, the Housing Board said its appointed contractor found rags and napkins inside the block's main waste pipe after flushing it on Tuesday. (See report on facing page.)

It added that these items could have choked the pipe, resulting in water flowing into the flat.

'RESOLVED'

The HDB spokesman said: "We have since inspected the flat and confirmed with the resident that the issue has been resolved."

No other units in the block were affected.

Madam Tan said she did a thorough clean-up of her flat for the second time at around 11pm on Sunday.

She added that she was so disturbed by the whole episode, she had a nightmare that evening.

"I dreamt that I got out of bed and found that the floor was still wet, damaging my personal items, including my mobile phone."

"There are no signs of damage to items like my wardrobe and altar table for now, and I hope it stays that way.

"I just hope this terrible incident won't happen again."

"For the past week, I have been spraying disinfectant in the flat to keep it clean. I also spray perfume in all the rooms to get rid of the smell. I hope the stench will go away soon.
"

- Madam Tan Siew Tin

HDB: Choke not caused by upgrading

The choke at Madam Tan Siew Tin's flat last weekend was not caused by the Home Improvement Programme upgrading.

The Housing Board told The New Paper that Block 606, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5, where she lives, was upgraded in August last year.

Its spokesman said: "The improvements carried out under the programme included upgrading the existing toilets and bathrooms, and replacing the sanitary pipes.

"Upon the completion of the works, the sanitary pipes were flushed and cleaned to ensure that there were no chokes."

After receiving complaints from Madam Tan's household about the incident last weekend, an HDB-appointed contractor flushed the main waste pipe and found rags and napkins inside.

The HDB spokesman said: "We urge residents not to discard items like sanitary napkins, diapers and solid waste into the toilet bowl and floor trap in the future, as they may cause chokage of pipes."

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