Pungent in Punggol as new HDB flat is flooded with faecal matter
Family who spent $50,000 on renovations find their new flat covered in faecal matter after pipe chokes
Their new HDB flat was turned into a faecal swamp over the weekend after contents from a toilet pipe flooded the unit.
The owner, who wanted to be known as Madam Fadilah, 31, was going to move into her newly-renovated Build-To-Order flat in Punggol this month.
But on Monday, the family received a call from a neighbour, telling them that faecal matter was flowing out of their four-room flat's front door.
When they went there on Monday, Madam Fadilah's husband opened the door to find faecal waste all over their new floor.
Shin Min Daily News reported that he then broke down, crying in front of the unit on the seventh storey of Block 313C, Sumang Link.
The flat's dismal condition was a big blow to the family. They had grand plans for the move, which was to coincide with their third child's full-month celebration this week.
Madam Fadilah, a saleswoman, said they got the keys to their flat less than a year ago. They have spent more than $50,000 on renovations and started moving things in about two weeks ago.
She also said close to $10,000 worth of furniture, including a sound system and all of the items in her newborn's room, was covered in waste.
When The New Paper went to the block yesterday, there was a strong smell of disinfectant outside the unit. There was also a stained speaker system and a chair outside.
Madam Fadilah told Shin Min that two weeks before the flooding at their flat, someone from the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council had called them to inform them that they wanted to enter the unit to solve a problem with the pipes.
But on the same day, the town council called back to say the problem had been fixed.
Other residents in the block said they knew about the incidents and complained of problems in the pipelines of the estate.
A neighbour on the seventh storey, who wanted to be known only as Mr Muhamad, 30, a businessman, said he has heard of at least three pipe-related incidents in the estate since moving in about a year ago.
"When I moved in, I found a chunk of cement lodged in my bathroom drainage and had to dig it out myself," he said.
"Just a few months back, I also heard a loud gushing sound at night. I came out to find that a pipe had burst close to the carpark."
He added that the clean-up of the unit on Monday morning saw the authorities cutting open the pipe in the neighbour's home, only to find a chunk of cement inside.
Another neighbour on the same floor who did not want to be identified also said she has heard of various pipe incidents.
"The residents here have a forum and many have complained of issues with the pipes," she said.
A spokesman for the Town Council told Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao that the blockage in the unit was cleared and the area was cleaned up on Monday. It was also revealed that renovation waste was found in the pipe.
Plumbers said cement chunks in pipes can be caused by many factors. (See report above.)
The Town Council spokesman added that it would work with HDB to find out the cause of the blockage.
But residents like Mr Muhamad are worried that the problem might happen again.
He said: "What happens if we go on holiday only to come back and find our home in such a state? We don't have peace of mind. It's very worrying."
'Impossible to pinpoint source of blockage'
The flooding was possibly caused by a massive build-up within the main pipes of the building, said plumbing expert David Chi.
Mr Chi, who has over 30 years of experience in the plumbing industry, told The New Paper: "It is impossible to pinpoint the source of the blockage - it can be from renovation or construction."
The 53-year-old added that piping issues can affect either a specific unit or an entire block.
Pipe blockages in new buildings can also be due to construction debris build-up and not just human waste.
Mr Chi also said that the lower floors are where the main pipes end, increasing the risk of blockages.
"Blockages are fairly common within HDB buildings and can occur anytime, even after years," he explained.
Another plumber, who wanted to be known only as Mr Daniel, said that frequent checks have to be done during construction or renovation to prevent such problems.
But Mr Chi said there is no surefire way of avoiding such incidents. "As long as something chokes the pipes, there will be a high possibility of flooding."