PETALING JAYA: The Kulim International Airport (KXP) project will see 40 million litres of wastewater being pumped daily into Sungai Muda by 2025 if it goes ahead as planned, says the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBA).
Its CEO Jaseni Maidinsa said the wastewater discharge will endanger everyone in Penang when the water quality of Sungai Muda is contaminated.
He said PBA abstracts more than 80% of its raw water from Sungai Muda, adding that if the river is polluted, a water supply crisis will occur in Penang causing huge losses to businesses.
Jaseni said there are several phases of the airport project indicating large discharges of wastewater – from 40 million litres per day (MLD) by 2025 to 100 MLD by 2036.
One million litres can fill two million small (500ml) bottles of drinking water, while 2.5 million litres can fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
“Imagine a daily discharge of 40 million litres of wastewater into Sungai Muda from 2021. What will be the impact on the raw water quality of Sungai Muda downstream?” he asked in a statement.
Jaseni said the KXP project was about 6km away from PBA’s Lahar Tiang Intake in Seberang Perai, which will affect its raw water abstraction operations almost immediately.
He said there will be a state-wide water crisis in Penang if something goes wrong on the KXP site.
He also said the raw water that the ‘conventional water treatment’ technology PBA uses at the Sungai Dua water treatment plant may not be good enough to treat water that is infused with large volumes of wastewater containing high levels of chemicals.
KXP would operate for many years once it is built, he said, which would mean high volumes of wastewater being continuously discharged into Sungai Muda.
“Water supply sustainability is more important than additional air transportation infrastructure,” he said.