Singapore

PUB to start upgrading works at Tuaspring desalination plant

Having officially taken over the Tuaspring desalination plant on May 18, national water agency PUB will start the process of replacing its poorly performing membranes to ensure that it continues to produce water reliably.

Welcoming Tuaspring's workers yesterday, PUB's director of water supply (plants) Bernard Koh said: "Now you are part of the PUB team. You have only one mission and that is very clear - supply good water.

"This plant needs upgrading works, replacement work. Let's work together and restore it to the full 70 million gallons a day (mgd)."

Mr Koh oversees all of PUB's waterworks, desalination plants and NEWater plants in Singapore, while general manager Kenneth Chua will oversee the Tuaspring plant.

Mr Chua is one of three PUB employees with experience in operations and maintenance of desalination plants posted to Tuaspring to help with the transition.

The transfer from water treatment company Hyflux took place following the termination of the water purchase agreement with Tuaspring on May 17.

The desalination facility is part of the Tuaspring Integrated Water and Power Plant that cost Hyflux $1.05 billion.

Under the water contract, Tuaspring is required to deliver up to 70 mgd in desalinated water to PUB over 25 years between 2013 and 2038. Its plant capacity is equivalent to 16 per cent of Singapore's water demand of 430 mgd.

But the plant has had operational issues since early 2017, and Hyflux lacked the funds to resolve those issues.

It has been unable to replace poorly performing membranes in its ultra-filtration and reverse osmosis systems promptly, and this affected the quantity and quality of water. It also failed to supply PUB with 70 mgd of desalinated water on numerous occasions.

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