PUB fines contractors for damage to water mains, leading to water loss of 3 Olympic-sized pools

SINGAPORE - Two construction companies have been fined a total of $77,000 for causing serious damage to potable water mains, which resulted in water lost that was enough to fill three Olympic-sized swimming pools.

National water agency PUB said in a statement on Thursday (Jan 3) that HSC Pipeline Engineering was fined $47,000 for the damage, while SNK Engineering & Trading was fined $30,000. Both companies were convicted in August 2018.

The agency said that the two cases led to a combined water loss of more than 6,400 cubic metres, or nearly three Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Investigations revealed that HSC Pipeline Engineering damaged a 1,200mm diameter water main on Dec 17, 2016, while carrying out underground pipe-jacking works at a site at the junction of Woodlands Avenue 8 and Woodlands Avenue 9.

But before carrying out works in the vicinity of a water main, a contractor is required to carry out trench or hole trials to determine the location of the water main, including its alignment and depth, the PUB said.

It also has to submit the necessary documents to obtain the PUB's approval before commencing work.

However, in HSC Pipeline Engineering's case, the construction company did not ascertain the physical location of the water main, and a jacking machine later hit it.

The PUB shut down the water main after it received complaints of discoloured water supply from commercial premises nearby.

 
 

Previously, in June 2013, the company had also damaged a 150mm diameter pipe. That offence was compounded with a composition fine of $3,000.

In the second case, SNK Engineering & Trading was charged for damaging a 300mm diameter potable water main on Oct 2, 2017, at a construction site in Cecil Street.

The company was a sub-contractor carrying out removal works of an existing drain for the construction of a new drain and walkway.

While hacking the existing drain, it punctured the water main, resulting in a water loss of 360 cubic metres.

The PUB said that the company failed to abide by its protection guidelines on working near water mains, and did not take the necessary precautions to minimise the risk of damage.

This was the company's first offence.

In the PUB statement, director of water supply (network) department Ridzuan Ismail said that the water mains are important infrastructure that carry treated water from PUB's water treatment plants and service reservoirs to homes and offices.

"PUB takes a serious view of damage to our water mains. In severe cases, damaged mains can lead to a disruption in water supply or discoloured water to nearby amenities and cause inconvenience to users," he said.

He also urged contractors to exercise caution when carrying out works near water mains and ensure that adequate measures are in place.