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Wednesday, 14 March 2018 | MYT 10:18 AM

SPLASH: Reps 'blissfully uninformed' when apportioning blame over plant accident

PETALING JAYA: The recent incident at the Sungai Selangor Phase 3 (SSP3) Bukit Badong water treatment plant "regrettably occurred" as the plant was about to resume operations.

Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (SPLASH) said repair works of a damaged check valve was successfully completed ahead of schedule before the "accidental bursting" of the surge vessel system.

"This incident caused extensive structural damage to the surge vessel system. The urgency of restoration was so critical that it required the immediate mobilisation of 50 workers on site, working continuously around the clock.

"It involved the extensive use of equipment - two mobile cranes, three excavators and eight welding sets," it said in a statement  on Wednesday.

SPLASH said when Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh and Klang MP Charles Santiago "rushed to lecture on responsibility and apportion blame", they must be "blissfully uninformed".

SPLASH provided regular progress updates to officials from the water regulator - National Water Services Commission (SPAN) and Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Air Selangor) - who were on site to help monitor the repair works.

But it said, the public dissemination of regular updates was the responsibility of Air Selangor as the water distributor.

It added that over the past few years, several letters were written to the Selangor state government to highlight that its plants were never designed to operate beyond its design capacity on a long-term basis and doing so, would cause intrinsic damage to the plants.

"It would pose a high risk of unexpected breakdowns. Preliminary investigations show that the bursting of the surge vessel system was due to stress at the elbow joints, due primarily to continuous overloading of the system.

"SPLASH has a total of 10 pumps on site. It only needs five pumps to produce treated water to its overloaded capacity.

"Therefore, the fact that the other four pumps were under repair was inconsequential and totally unrelated to the incident or the operations of the plant," it said.

SPLASH also highlighted another potential power disruption to its plants.

It said its operators Sg. Harmoni Sdn Bhd (SSP1) and Gamuda Water Sdn (SSP3) have been served with writs of summons from Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) for recovery of unpaid electricity bills, amounting to RM36mil and RM39mil, respectively.

"Shortly after Air Selangor acquired the other water companies in 2016, SYABAS under its new administration proceeded to reduce payment to SPLASH to only about 36% of billings.

"At that level, it was no longer possible for SPLASH's operators to pay for TNB bills, chemicals and other overheads," it said, adding that prior to the taking over, SPLASH operators had been able to "fully settle all TNB bills".

It also pointed out that during several dialogues, it was explained that the reduction in payments to SPLASH was necessitated by Air Selangor having to service new lease payments to Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd for funding its equity purchase of water companies.

"We are of the opinion that if SYABAS/Air Selangor as a Group is short of cash, then they should rightly seek cash injection from the Selangor state government.

"In spite of having to suffer the chronic underpayments, SPLASH commits to ensure uninterrupted water supply," it said.