Foul-smelling, toxic solvent dumped at riverside in Malaysia

Mentri Besar Mohamad Azmin Ali (front row, third from right) checking the contaminated water at Sungai Buah after workers blocked it from flowing into Sungai Semenyih.
Mentri Besar Mohamad Azmin Ali (front row, third from right) checking the contaminated water at Sungai Buah after workers blocked it from flowing into Sungai Semenyih. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

SEPANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Someone has been dumping toxic solvent by the banks of Sungai Buah, off the Elite Highway, causing the water that flows into Sungai Semenyih to become dangerous.

The authorities are now racing to clean up the mess by building a bund across the river to stop the water from flowing into Sungai Semenyih and drawing out the contaminated water to be dumped elsewhere.

The 20m bund has been built across Sungai Buah as the authorities work to restore treated water supply to hundreds of thousands of consumers in four districts in Selangor.

Mentri Besar Mohamad Azmin Ali said that although the authorities had yet to pinpoint the culprit behind the mess, Selangor Water Management Board Authority (Luas) had found traces of a solvent at three spots in the river, across the border to Negri Sembilan.


Mentri Besar Mohamad Azmin Ali (front row, third from right) checking the contaminated water at Sungai Buah after workers blocked it from flowing into Sungai Semenyih. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK 

The solvent is so toxic that swathes of green grass by the banks were charred.

"We had no choice but to prevent Sungai Buah from flowing into Sungai Semenyih to restart our water treatment. Our priority now is to ensure the 320,000 account holders get their supply as soon as possible," he said after checking on the clean-up operations.

The affected consumers are from the Sepang, Kuala Langat, Hulu Langat and Petaling districts.

Apart from the water board, several other agencies, including the Sepang and Kajang municipalities, the Drainage and Irrigation Department and Indah Water Konsortium are involved in the clean-up exercise.

After the bund was in place, pumps were brought in to extract the foul-smelling water from Sungai Buah into tankers. The water was transported out in lorries and deposited in a nearby pond.

Datuk Seri Azmin said the Luas employees went to the scene after getting reports of the foul smell at about 7.30am on Sunday (Oct 23).

"While conducting checks, they found the smell at its worst near a section of the river at the north-bound Nilai R&R, along the North-South Expressway," he said.

At about 6.10pm, they found large traces of solvent along the 45.9km mark of the Elite Highway, which links the New Klang Valley Expressway and the southbound stretch of the North-South Expressway.

"It looks as if the solvent had been dumped along a slope causing it to flow into Sungai Buah," he said.