Illegal discharge of hazardous materials a serious offence

The Singapore River.
The Singapore River.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Mr Roger Chua Yeu Hock for his letter (Increase fines for firms that discharge waste illegally, June 14).

The illegal discharge of industrial used water containing hazardous substances into our public sewers is a serious offence, as it compromises the operational integrity of the sewerage network and disrupts the used water treatment process at water reclamation plants.

It can also pose fire and health hazards to the workers maintaining our public sewers.

PUB, Singapore's national water agency, adopts a multi-pronged approach to manage companies which discharge trade effluent, so as to ensure they comply with the law.

Depending on the type and seriousness of the offence, offenders can be fined up to $200,000 and jailed.

Our suite of measures include dialogues with trade associations, the distribution of education materials, frequent site inspections and the use of technology to closely monitor high-risk companies which discharge potentially hazardous trade effluent.

If the concentration levels of the discharge are found to be dangerously high, PUB will take immediate action to impose a Stop Order to bar a company from discharging any trade effluent into the public sewers.

Such an order will be lifted only when PUB is satisfied with the remedial measures the company has implemented.

Used water is a precious water resource in Singapore and PUB will not hesitate to take the necessary actions to safeguard our public sewerage network. We encourage the public to report incidents of illegal discharge of industrial used water into the public sewer manholes to PUB's 24-hour call centre on 1800-CALL-PUB (1800-2255-782).

Maurice Neo

Director, Water Reclamation (Network) Department

PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2019, with the headline 'Illegal discharge of hazardous materials a serious offence'. Print Edition | Subscribe