State-owned sand mining firm acknowledges diesel spill at Sungai Selangor

A compilation of photos by SPAN showing what appears to be a diesel oil spill in Sungai Selangor.

PETALING JAYA: Selangor-owned sand mining company Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB) today announced that it had detected a diesel oil spill at Sungai Selangor but stopped short of taking blame for the occurrence, less than a day after water concessionaire Pengurusan Air Selangor said all four water treatment plants in the state had been shut down for the second time in three days.

In a statement, KSSB said the spill was detected near Kolam Hang Tuah at about 6.15pm yesterday.

“Our emergency response team was dispatched immediately and the source of the spill identified and contained.

“We are currently monitoring the situation and cooperating with the relevant authorities,” it said.

Yesterday, Air Selangor said pollution from diesel oil was found at the intake of the Sungai Selangor Water Treatment Plant Phase 1, 2 and 3 (WTP SSP1, WTP SSP2 and WTP SSP3) as well as the Rantau Panjang WTP from the raw water of Sungai Selangor.

Operations at all four plants were halted.

Abdul Raof Ahmad, the head of Air Selangor’s customer relations and communications, said the source of pollution was sand digging activities at the upper reaches of the river, and that the incident had been reported to the authorities.

According to Air Selangor, operations resumed at about 3.30am today.

KSSB today apologised for the situation and said it prioritises the protection of the environment, rivers and water sources.

“KSSB is investigating the incident from all angles, including the possibility of sabotage, and will provide updates soon,” it said.

On Friday, 1,133 areas involving 1,166,842 customer accounts in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor were affected by an unscheduled water supply disruption following odour pollution at the Sungai Selangor raw water source.

Air Selangor said it was targeting the full recovery of water supply in all affected areas by midnight on July 22.

National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chairman Charles Santiago said the commission had lodged a police report on the two incidents of pollution, asking for an investigation into the possibility of sabotage.

“It is too much of a coincidence that two water sources could be contaminated. We are asking the police to investigate as thoroughly as possible,” he said when contacted.

In a separate statement, he said the pollution was worrying as the contamination took place within only a few days, forcing the closure of the four WTPs which serve over five million users.

He said SPAN would take legal action against those who had discharged the pollutants, and would push for the termination of any contractors involved in the sand mining activities if they are found to be responsible.

He urged the federal and state governments to consider stopping all economic activities near rivers for now, especially in upstream areas.