Air quality in area near Tuas fire normal: NEA

Firefighters exit through an opening in the hoarding at the Eco Special Waste Management plant.
Firefighters exit through an opening in the hoarding at the Eco Special Waste Management plant.PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - Air quality in Tuas in the vicinity of Thursday's (Feb23) huge fire is within the normal range, despite the smell of strong chemicals in the area after the blaze.

The fire at Eco Special Waste Management plant took 200 firefighters four hours to put out.

No one was hurt, but a firefighter suffered heat exhaustion.

During the fire, waste material such as solvents, oil sludge and other industrial waste contaminated with chemicals that were stored in the plant were set ablaze, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said.

Driver Muhammad Firdaus, 29, who was travelling along Tuas South Avenue 3 on Thursday morning said the smell of chemicals was so strong he "could hardly breathe".


The waste was "volatised" when burned at a high temperature, but would have diluted as they disperse in the air, NEA said.

"When burned at a high temperature, the wastes mentioned above may be volatised. However, they are transient and become quickly diluted as they disperse in the air and are unlikely to be a cause of concern," the agency said.

It added that air quality measurements taken in the vicinity of the plant during the fire showed that the air quality was within the normal range.

Air quality records from NEA's monitoring stations in Tuas and Jurong were also normal.

Water samples taken from drains in the vicinity had pH readings of between 5 and 7, which is slightly below the normal range.

"Our officers will continue to monitor the site and the vicinity," NEA said.

It also said it is working closely with the company as well as other government agencies to review the company's processes and safety procedures.

National water agency PUB said its officers carried out a site check in the affected area on Friday.

"Preliminary checks show that there is some damage to the drain walls and railings of a section of the outlet drain along Tuas South Ave 7," it said.

"Repair works will be scheduled after a more detailed assessment."

PUB officers also inspected nearby sewers and found them to be operating normally. Samples of used water from the sewers have been collected for analysis, PUB said.