Five firms fined for illegally discharging waste into public sewers

SINGAPORE - Five companies have been fined for illegally discharging waste into public sewers, national water agency PUB said on Friday (June 1).

Toxic industrial waste collection firm NSL OilChem Waste Management was fined $25,000 on May 15, after an anonymous tip-off last year led PUB to discover that NSL OilChem's tanker had been illegally discharging oily waste into the public sewer at its Tanjong Kling premises.

An inspection found unusual grease stains on the surrounding walls of the inspection chamber, while water samples showed the presence of prohibited volatile organic compounds and an excessive amount of zinc - a regulated heavy metal.

Companies are not allowed to discharge any sewage, waste matter or effluent into the public sewerage system without PUB's prior approval, while firms must also ensure that their discharge of industrial used water complies with stipulated requirements.

Routine inspections in 2016 and 2017 this year also uncovered illegal discharge acts by four other companies: Amxon Constructors, Aroma Chemical, Brightsun Marine and ParexGroup. They were fined a total of $48,000 between April and May this year.

Mr Maurice Neo, director of PUB's water reclamation network, said: "We cannot stress enough that discharging prohibited or excessive regulated substances into our public sewers is very dangerous.

"Toxic industrial waste collection companies such as NSL OilChem should know better than anyone else that such an irresponsible act can affect the operational integrity of the public sewerage system, disrupt the used water treatment process at the water reclamation plants, and pose health and safety hazards to the workers maintaining the system."

Dr Low Chin Nam, a director of NSL OilChem Waste Management, said: "The company takes environmental compliance seriously, and wants to apologise to the public for this regrettable incident. We have accepted the fines issued by the PUB, and will undertake a full investigation to ensure that such incidents will not recur."

The company will use the inspection results to develop further practices to ensure that these isolated incidents will not happen again, said NSL OilChem in a statement on Friday.

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