SINGAPORE: National water agency, PUB, has said that it uncovered lapses at a built-to-order (BTO) public housing project after a concerned Singaporean documented and shared online how silty water runoff from the worksite is flowing towards Marina Reservoir through the drains and canals leading into Kallang River.

The issue is concerning as water in Marina Reservoir serves as a source for drinking after undergoing treatment. Additionally, local wildlife, including endangered smooth-coated otters and white-bellied sea eagles, rely on the river system to feed.

Environmental activist Jimmy Tan wrote on Facebook on Thursday (4 Jan) that he spotted the water pollution while cycling from Braddell Road towards Toa Payoh Central. The silty runoff flowed into the Toa Payoh North canal from a drain along Braddell Rise around noon that day.


#siltation from #toapayoh ridge #bto #constructionsite #singapore #waterpollution #environment #asia #waterquality #kallangriver #marinareservoir #waterquality #minidocumentary

♬ Nature / Mountains / Earth / Magnificent Ambient(1265028) – Cheng Lee


Concerned, Mr Tan followed the drain to trace the source of the silty runoff along Braddell Rise and found that it led to the Toa Payoh Ridge BTO construction site, which used to be the site of the former First Toa Payoh Primary School, located at Toa Payoh Lorong 1.

He further tracked the seepage and discovered that the muddy water was seeping through the perimeter fence from the construction site into the drain that flows into the Toa Payoh North canal.

Mr Tan said, “It is hoped that the muddy water seepage will be rectified as part of the Earth/Erosion Control Measures (ECM), so as to protect the wildlife that depend on the river. This will also safeguard our health since we rely on the water in the reservoir for drinking, given the fact that we humans are all interrelated with the natural environment.”

The Singapore People’s Party (SPP) was also concerned about the water pollution issue, and party chief Steve Chia wrote to the authorities to highlight the matter. Asserting that the runoff is unacceptable, Mr Chia called on the authorities to take immediate action to resolve the issue.

In a message on Friday (5 Jan), he said, “We hope the muddy water discharge from the construction site will be immediately rectified by the contractors and penalised too.”

The PUB has since acknowledged the issue. Mr Tan reported today (9 Jan) that the PUB replied to him that it had done an inspection at the BTO worksite, uncovering Earth Control Measures (ECM) lapses at the site.

Promising that it would further investigate the issue and take necessary enforcement action against the contractor in charge of the site, the PUB added that it had already instructed the contractor to immediately conduct rectification works to prevent reoccurrences of such incidents.

Mr Tan said, “I’m glad that they have acknowledged the issue and are taking the necessary actions as well.”

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