Parliament: Discoloured tap water at BMTC on Pulau Tekong due to naturally occurring minerals, says Masagos

Officers from national water agency PUB collecting water samples from taps for testing at the Basic Military Training Centre on Pulau Tekong on Nov 22, 2019. PHOTO: BASIC MILITARY TRAINING CENTRE MEDIA TEAM

SINGAPORE - The discoloured tap water reported at the Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC) on Pulau Tekong last November was due to "naturally occurring minerals", said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Monday (Feb 3).

Responding to a question in Parliament by Workers' Party Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera about the incident, Mr Masagos also said that national water agency PUB will work with BMTC to clean the water mains during the first half of this year.

Mr Masagos said that when the discoloured tap water was reported at some parts of BMTC at 7.30am on Nov 20, 2019, PUB officers were activated immediately to investigate the cause of the incident and to deploy water wagons as a temporary water supply to the servicemen.

"PUB also worked with BMTC to flush the water supply network on Pulau Tekong, and carried out water sampling tests in the network to ensure that the water is safe for consumption and within the drinking water quality standards under the Environmental Public Health Regulations 2019 and the World Health Organisation's guidelines," he said.

Water supply was fully restored at 9.30pm the next day.

Mr Masagos explained that "naturally occurring minerals in the water will settle and accumulate in the water supply network over time".

PUB's investigations found that the minerals in the pipes serving BMTC were "churned up", affecting the appearance of the water.

The tap water became clear again after the flushing of the water supply network, said Mr Masagos.

"As a preventive measure, PUB is working with BMTC to carry out cleaning of the water mains during the first half of 2020, when there is a break in BMTC's training schedule."

Responding to Mr Perera's follow-up question on whether Pulau Tekong's water supply is tested regularly to ensure it is of the same standard as that on the mainland, Mr Masagos said that all drinking water is tested wherever it is situated to ensure it is up to the earlier mentioned regulatory standards.

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