SINGAPORE: Stiffer penalties on improper discharge of used water from industries, trade and businesses, will come into effect next year.
This follows changes to the Sewerage and Drainage Act in September, aimed at minimising the risk of used water pollution.
Under the new regulations, offenders could be fined up to $15,000, an increase from the current $5,000, and jailed up to three months, for the illegal discharge of used industrial water.
Such discharge may contain hazardous chemicals, which will in turn affect water reclamation and NEWater production.
National water agency PUB said it has installed since November, a system costing S$2.5 million to monitor the amount of chemicals in the sewers.
The system comprises 40 real—time remote monitoring units installed at industrial sites.
When it detects illegal discharge, an alert is sent to the PUB.
Since the system was deployed, the PUB has received 20 alerts.
In 18 of these cases, the PUB has been able to identify the culprits that had discharged the chemicals the public sewers. Investigations are still on—going for the remaining two cases.
Mr Idaly Mamat, Senior Engineer at PUB, said: "In the past, we did not have a continuous monitoring system. We did — and still do — regular surveillance, regular monitoring and inspection of premises that discharge trade effluent.
"Since implementing this system, we are able to track the concentration of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) immediately. We are able to react faster to any sudden discharges of VOCs in the network."
To further secure the used water network, the PUB has also installed about 1,000 sensors in manholes to monitor water levels in the sewers.
Each sensor deployed in March,costs S$3,000.
When the water rises beyond the normal level, SMS and email alerts will be sent to the PUB.
They can then investigate and rectify the problem.
This helps to prevent overflow from the sewers, which may pollute waterways and reservoirs.
Mr Idaly Mamat added: "In the past, we only found out about these cases through public feedback. Usually we see that there was water overflowing from the sewers or the manhole. We could only then rectify the situation. Now with these level sensor system, we are able to detect any surcharges before it overflows from the sewers."
Since the sensors were installed, the PUB has received about 10 alerts per day, most related to blockages in the sewers.
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