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Punggol resident has phobia of moving into new flat after it turns into faecal swamp

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The Straits Times today reported that a 61-year-old woman’s studio apartment in Punggol was flooded twice by sewage since receiving the keys to her new flat in January 2016. The woman, Madam Carol Khoo, said she cannot imagine living there any longer.

The first incident happened barely 3 months after getting the keys to her new flat in January this year. In the incident which happened while she was on holiday in South Korea, multiple chokes in her toilet pipes caused severe flooding of her home with sewage waste. The choke was so severe that the entire house was affected.

According to an online publication, the flat is located on the 6th floor at the Punggol HDB Waterway Brooks, Block 667A. It reported that the rooms, kitchen and living room were all filled with sewage water. The furniture which were new were also soaked in sewage, causing huge financial loss.

Madam Khoo’s contractors took several months to clear up the mess and to replace the renovation and fixtures damaged by the mess, but on June 23 it happened again. Madam Khoo said workers found cement and cloth blocking the pipes. This time her contractors cleaned up debris from the chokage on the same day, and the damage was not as extensive.

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But Madam Khoo, has developed “a phobia of it happening again” and has requested a replacement unit from the Housing and Development Board (HDB). She will be selling her four-room HDB flat soon and is desperate for time.

HDB said that it is looking into Madam Khoo’s request for a replacement flat, but shifted the blame to private contractors engaged by the residents of the block. HDB said that when it receives reports of such incidents, it investigates and parties found responsible will have to carry out rectification work and bear the costs. It admitted that “it is not always possible to identify the source of the debris as it could have moved down from higher floors.”

The incident at Madam Khoo’s flat is not the first of a HDB flat in Punggol turning into a faecal swamp over after contents from choked toilet pipes flooded the unit. The New Paper reported in May 2015 that a resident, Madam Fadilah, 31, who was going to move into her newly renovated Build-To-Order flat in Punggol some time that month, found faecal matter flooding her flat and flowing out through her front door.

The residents told the newspaper then that there have been many problems with the estate’s pipelines. It reported a resident as saying that he has heard of at least three pipe-related incidents in the estate since moving in about a year ago in 2014.

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