Updated: 12/28/2012 01:46

PUB to tighten regulations on used water discharge from industries

PUB to tighten regulations on used water discharge from industries

Singapore's national water agency, PUB, plans to tighten regulations on used water discharge from industries, trade and businesses. 

It will be amending the Sewerage and Drainage (Trade Effluent Regulations) to effect stricter penalties. 

If convicted, offenders will be fined $15,000, up from the current $5,000, or jailed up to three months, or both. 

The amendment will likely kick in next year. 

PUB says the quality of industrial used water discharged into public sewers needs to be regulated as these may contain hazardous chemicals. 

It has also put in place a system to monitor the amount of chemicals or whats known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which comprise various chemicals some of which are toxic and flammable in the sewerage system. 

Industrial discharge containing VOCs should be collected by licensed toxic industrial waste collectors for treatment and disposal, instead of being discharged into public sewers. 

The system is made of 40 real-time remote monitoring units installed at industrial sites to monitor the concentration of chemicals in public sewers. 

Senior Engineer from PUB, Idaly Mamat said that when a unit detects illegal discharge, an alert is sent to the relevant PUB staff. 

"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 immediately. We are able to react faster to any sudden discharges of VOCs in the network."

The system was deployed last month in November 2012 . 

To further secure the used water network, PUB has installed about 1,000 sensors to monitor the levels of used water in the sewers. 

This helps to prevent overflow from the sewers and pollution to waterways and reservoirs. 

"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."

The sensors, which were deployed in March 2012, alert PUB staff when water levels build up.

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