4 stalls at Toa Payoh hawker centre flooded with waste water

Waste water at a mixed vegetable rice stall. Business was badly affected at a hawker centre in Toa Payoh on Wednesday when waste water overflowed out of a blocked pipe.
Waste water at a mixed vegetable rice stall. Business was badly affected at a hawker centre in Toa Payoh on Wednesday when waste water overflowed out of a blocked pipe.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - Four stalls at a hawker centre in Toa Payoh were affected by a blocked pipe, with waste water flooding the stall premises on Wednesday (May 3) morning.

The hawkers discovered their stalls at Block 22 Toa Payoh Lorong 7 covered in murky water when they were setting up for the day, Lianhe Wanbao reported on Thursday (May 4).

Thai stall hawker Mr Zhuang Zhenxing, 35, told Wanbao that the water had overflowed out of his stall when he arrived at about 9am.

He said it was not the first time he faced such an issue, and that the town council had managed to assist in previous instances before the flooding worsened.

Another hawker said flooding occurred at least once per year in the past three years.

The water that flowed out of the stalls was filled with food waste and had a layer of oil on top, and gave off a pungent smell, Wanbao said.

Mr Zhuang said he lost many customers because of the situation.

"With the stall like this, it's very hard to do business. At least half the customers turn away - I intend to wind down for the day once I earn back the day's rental," he said.

Ms Huang, a 41-year-old hawker who sells "min jiang kueh" or peanut pancake, told Wanbao that business dropped by about 20 per cent.

She stopped making the pancakes early in the day as she was worried about hygiene issues.

A spokesman for the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council told The Straits Times on Monday (May 8) that the manhole choke was cleared in the same afternoon. 
 
"Unlike other hawker centres where the sewer-line is shared by a row of stalls, the sewer-line in Block 22 is shared by two rows of stalls," said the spokesman. "This means there is a higher volume of waste disposal for Block 22 and a higher tendency for chokes."

The spokesman advised stallholders to dispose their food waste in a proper manner to "prevent clogging the sewer-line and backflow into their stalls".