Ammonia pollution: Water supply restored in most Kulai homes

High levels of ammonia were detected in Johor's Sayong River (right), which left about 17,000 households in Kulai without water. According to news reports, water supply was restored to about 80 per cent of households in Kulai yesterday.
High levels of ammonia were detected in Johor's Sayong River (right), which left about 17,000 households in Kulai without water. According to news reports, water supply was restored to about 80 per cent of households in Kulai yesterday.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Mr Saiful Ihsan had to fill a 400-gallon plastic tank with water after the authorities cut the water supply to his family home in Kampung Sri Jaya, near the Johor River Water Works treatment plant.
Mr Saiful Ihsan had to fill a 400-gallon plastic tank with water after the authorities cut the water supply to his family home in Kampung Sri Jaya, near the Johor River Water Works treatment plant.ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF
Madam Kamidah, a store owner, said it had been a good day for business as Indonesian workers in the area had rushed to buy bottled water from her.
Madam Kamidah, a store owner, said it had been a good day for business as Indonesian workers in the area had rushed to buy bottled water from her.ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF

KULAI - The wedding of Mr Saiful Ihsan's sister on Friday (April 5) nearly did not happen. Preparations for the happy occasion ground to a halt when the taps in Kulai ran dry at about 10am.

Mr Saiful, a 34-year-old teacher, and family members spent the next few hours looking for alternative water supplies.

But once they had located some, it was an arduous task trying to get 300 gallons of water to the wedding venue. Another mad rush began, this time to find a big enough tub to hold the water, hire a lorry to transport the tub and then wait four hours to fill it from a small pipe.

Mr Saiful made it back just before the wedding dinner began at 7pm.

He said: "We were desperate and needed water to wash all the dirty plates from the dinner. It was slow, because there was only one pipe to fill the tub."

The family were not alone in their predicament. Water supplies to Kulai and the surrounding areas of Kampung Sri Jaya were cut off after high levels of ammonia were detected in Johor's Sayong River.

It left some 17,000 households without water.

The high ammonia levels forced the PUB, Singapore's national water agency, to stop treatment operations at its waterworks in Kota Tinggi on Thursday.

Ammonia-contaminated water had flowed into a creek supplying raw water to the Johor River after a reservoir at a biocomposite centre next to a palm oil refinery burst on Wednesday.

 

When The Straits Times visited the Johor River Water Works plant yesterday afternoon, it was closed and not in operation.

Water supply was restored to about 80 per cent of households in Kulai yesterday, news reports said.

However, some residents like Mr Sabaran Mithy said they had had none since Thursday night. His family had to use water from their rooftop tank.

He said: "Our water tank can only last, the most, one night, if we use it for cooking. The taps have already run dry since 10am.

"If the authorities do not send a water tank to us, we will be forced to take water from the river."

But a 62-year-old store owner, who gave her name as Madam Kamidah, told ST it had been a good day for business as Indonesian workers in the area had rushed to buy bottled water from her.

Johor International Trade, Investment and Utility Committee chairman Jimmy Puah told ST he had received 31 complaints from affected residents and clean-up operations were under way. He said only the PUB-owned sites had not resumed operations as at 3pm Friday.