SINGAPORE - A toxic waste collection company has been issued a stop-work order by national water agency PUB after it was caught discharging toxic wastewater into public sewers.
It is the first time that the PUB has issued such an order.
The stop-work order for Cramoil Singapore was served to the company's managing director, Mr Tan Kim Seng, on Monday (April 23) and came into force immediately.
It means that the company can no longer discharge any used water from its premises into public sewers, said PUB in a statement on Wednesday.
The company was caught in the act following overnight operations by PUB earlier this month. The PUB found that industrial used water discharged was brown and contained 16 different types of prohibited volatile organic compounds.
"The concentration levels were dangerously high," said PUB in its statement. "At these levels, the (compounds) could cause fires in the sewer pipeline and downstream Jurong Water Reclamation Plant."
In addition, Cramoil's discharge also contained five kinds of metals and chemicals in concentrations that exceeded the allowable limits.
"These toxic substances pose a danger to workers operating and maintaining the public sewerage system and can upset the used water treatment process," PUB said.
Checks by its officers also found that Cramoil's automatic used water sampler, which the PUB uses to monitor industrial used water discharges from the company to the public sewer, had been tampered with.
This is not Cramoil's first offence. Since 2010, it has committed 20 similar offences and has been fined a total of $52,500.
PUB said that it will be pressing charges under the Sewerage and Drainage Act for illegally discharging trade effluent containing dangerous or hazardous substances into a public sewer.
First-time offenders can be fined up to $50,000, while repeat offenders could be fined up to $100,000.
"PUB does not condone any blatant disregard of our regulations on illegal discharge of trade effluent, and anyone who wilfully causes harm and danger to our public sewerage system," said Mr Maurice Neo, who is director of PUB's water reclamation network.
"Strong enforcement action will be taken against those responsible. We will press for deterrent sentences against repeat offenders."
Cramoil's stop-work order will remain in place until PUB is satisfied with measures taken to mitigate the problem. The company has a month in which to put in place specific measures to treat the wastewater from its plant.
If it does not comply with the stop-work order immediately, it could be fined up to $40,000, and an additional $1,000 for each day that it continues to commit the offence.