Treatment plants back in operation

PETALING JAYA - All four water treatment plants shut down because of oil contamination of Sungai Selangor have resumed operations but more than three million people in the Klang Valley will continue to suffer supply disruptions for up to seven days.

Water concessionaire Syabas said the Sungai Selangor Phase 1, 2 and 3 and Rantau Panjang treatment plants resumed operating at 3am yesterday, but normal supply in all affected areas would take a week to be fully restored.

Syabas corporate communication and public affairs department deputy general manager Priscilla Alfred told The Star: "The water supply is back to normal in Kuala Langat and is slowly being restored in parts of Hulu Selangor, Gombak, Klang, Shah Alam, Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur as of 5pm today (yesterday).

"We expect to see good progress in the next three days but full recovery will be gradual and will take seven days from now."

The plants which draw water from Sungai Selangor were shut down on Friday morning after diesel from a factory in upstream Rawang spilled into the river's tributary.

They produce 2.67 billion litres of water daily, catering to 57 per cent of the demand in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

Alfred said that about 880,000 domestic accounts - each of which represent four to five people - are affected by the disruptions.

The consumers hit by the disruptions comprise 60 per cent of the total population of Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam as well as the districts of Hulu Selangor, Kuala Selangor, Gombak, Klang, and Petaling.

Syabas activated its top emergency response plan Code Red following the oil spill.

Code Red is activated when disruptions affect more than one million consumers.

A Code Yellow is for disruptions affecting only one district while Code Green is activated when the consumers affected number about 50,000 or less.

Syabas in an earlier statement yesterday said it had despatched 46 water tankers and 20 static tanks to the affected areas with 505 additional static tanks on standby.

Water concessionaires in Johor, Negri Sembilan and Perak have sent 14 water tankers for use by Syabas, but the company said these were still not enough to meet demand.

"Efforts to provide relief water supplies will need to focus on premises such as hospitals and dialysis centres, so we urge other affected consumers to be patient," Syabas said.