Perak asks SPAN to reopen water plant closed due to arsenic poisoning

The Ayer Ganda water treatment plant in Gerik was closed on April 9 after high levels of natual occurring arsenic were detected in water samples.

IPOH: The Perak government has urged the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) to allow the Ayer Ganda water treatment plant in Gerik to resume operations after an arsenic poisoning scare.

Perak Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu noted that Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye had said the water is safe for “non-consumptive use”.

He said the plant’s shutdown has burdened more than 1,500 residents, especially with Ramadan just around the corner.

On April 18, Lee had said that water from the plant, closed since April 9, was safe for washing clothes and bathing but not for drinking or cooking.

Faizal said he had written a letter to Land, Water and Natural Resources Minister Dr A Xavier Jayakumar seeking his help to reopen the water treatment plant.

“I was told the ministry could not revoke the (plant shutdown) order, except on the advice of the health ministry.

“To me, clear advice has already been given. Dr Lee has made a media statement that water from the Ganda plant is safe for use for purposes other than drinking and cooking.”

He was speaking to reporters after witnessing the signing of an agreement on water treatment system installation for Orang Asli villages between the Sultan Azlan Shah Foundation and the Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia Response & Relief Team (Imaret) here.

Faizal said treated water continued to be sent to the affected villagers daily but the disruption in water supply is still a burden to them.

“It is hard to live on water from water tankers.

“I believe SPAN may have the information I don’t, but still I believe Dr Lee’s statement is good enough for the plant shutdown order to be revoked,” he said.