World

Ammonia pollution hits Johor water plant, Singapore not affected


Water in Malaysia's Johor state has been hit by another round of ammonia pollution which shut down a treatment plant and cut water supply to 225,000 consumers.

Utility firm SAJ Ranhill said in a statement on Saturday night that raw water in the Sembrong dam in Kluang district was found to have high ammonia content and that it had stopped operations at its Sembrong West water treatment plant.

The plant resumed operations yesterday morning, the company told The Straits Times, and water supply would be restored to affected consumers in stages starting from yesterday evening.

A palm oil processing factory was identified as the source of the contamination, after the Department of Environment conducted a site visit with Johor State Health, Environment, Education and Information Executive Committee chairman Ayub Rahmat.

According to national news agency Bernama, Mr Ayub said the factory's operating licence was immediately suspended for three months to allow the factory operator to conduct cleaning works and ensure factory waste is not discharged into a nearby river.

Mr Ayub said he has also asked Johor's water regulator Badan Kawalselia Air Johor to impose the maximum compound fine of RM250,000 (S$81,435) on the factory operator.

Singapore was not affected by the plant's closure because the Sembrong dam is not part of the Johor River catchment from where Singapore draws some of its water.

This latest case of water pollution comes weeks after two million consumers in Johor Baru, Kulai and Kota Tinggi were affected by water cuts after three water treatment plants along the Johor River, also operated by Ranhill, were forced to suspend their operations over ammonia pollution. 
- ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AUDREY TAN IN SINGAPORE

Environment