Jan 16 2013 04:21 PMWater/Wastewater

Waste water fines tripled in Singapore

 

Singapore has taken stringent action against those found illegally dumping waste water containing chemicals, by tripling the fine for doing so.

Those caught dumping waste water containing chemicals into public sewers will now be charged S$15,000 (£7642) or face a prison sentence.

The fines are less likely to be put on individuals, and more likely to affect factories as they are often the ones who choose to remove toxic waste water in this way.

Although there were already laws in place, the Singapore authorities have had to create tougher penalties as 11 factories have recently been caught dumping waste water containing high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into the sewerage system.

Companies that are normally guilty of dumping VOCs are building firms as paints and methane chloride are an example of VOC.

Electroplating, pharmaceutical, printing, food businesses, and trade industries also use equipment that is classed as VOC.

Seven of the individuals involved in this particular case were brought to court.

Mr Idaly Mamat, senior engineer of national water company PUB's Water Reclamation (Network) Department, said to Today Online: "As some VOCs are toxic and flammable, the discharge of trade effluent containing high concentration of such VOCs into the public sewer poses fire and safety hazards to workers or operators working in the public sewerage system.

"It can also affect the treatment process at water reclamation plants, and subsequently, impact the production of NEWater or industrial water."

PUB has installed 40 VOC in certain industrial sites, which monitors the concentration levels of chemicals that are put into the sewage system.

Among the sites that are being tested are Tuas, Pioneer Sector and Woodlands.

If levels get too high, or an illegal substance is detected, a text will immediately be sent to PUB, which can then send out an investigator to the scene.

The sensors also enable PUB to closely monitor 1,783 factories identified as "concerns", out of 4,800 listed in its records, Today Online reports.

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