PETALING JAYA, March 14 ― The Selangor government was repeatedly notified about the chronic overloading at the Sungai Selangor Phase 3 plant that resulted in last week’s prolonged supply disruptions, said Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (SPLASH).
SPLASH said the high rate of use over a prolonged period had heightened the risk of unexpected breakdowns, and insisted that the Selangor government was made aware of the dangers.
“Over the past few years, SPLASH has written several letters to the state government to highlight that its plants were never designed to operate beyond its designed capacity on a long term basis since 2013, doing so would cause intrinsic damage to the plants,” it said in a statement.
“It would pose a high risk of unexpected breakdowns, preliminary investigations show that the bursting of the surge vessel system on March 6 was due to stress at the elbow joints due primarily to continuous overloading of the system.”
It also insisted that the alleged overuse had caused structural damage to the treatment facilities that went beyond the pump failures.
Contradicting the Selangor government’s assessment, it said there were 10 pumps at the SSP3 and only five were needed to run at full capacity, meaning there were five pumps available as spares.
“The fact that the other four pumps were under repair during the incident was inconsequential and totally unrelated to the incident or the operations of the plant,” it said.
SPLASH then warned of other problems that could lead to further disruptions, such as lawsuits against two of its operations and management firms for unpaid electricity bills.
It said Tenaga Nasional Bhd is threatening to cut off power supply to SPLASH plants run by Sg Harmoni Sdn Bhd and Gamuda Water Sdn Bhd over arrears of RM36 million and RM39 million, respectively.
SPLASH explained that during several dialogues arranged by the Water, Energy and Green Technology Ministry to mediate between SPLASH and Syabas, the reduction in payments to SPLASH was due to Air Selangor having to service new lease payments.
“Shortly after Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd acquired the other water companies Syabas, Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd, and Konsortium ABASS Sdn Bhd in 2016, Syabas under the new administration proceeded to reduce payment to SPLASH to only about 36 per cent of billings,” it said.
“It was no longer possible for SPLASH O&M operators to pay for TNB bills, chemicals and other overheads.”
Water supply disruptions in the Klang Valley started last Tuesday because of critical equipment repairs at the Sungai Selangor Phase 3 water treatment plant
What was initially meant to be a 10-hour outage turned into a week of dry taps after the the surge vessel system burst at the SSP3 plant.
Selangor executive councillor Zaidy Abdul Talib last week claimed the critical failure was due to damage to four of the five pumps at the site that required urgent repair.
He also suggested that SPLASH was unaware of the damage and unresponsive to attempts to inform it about falling throughput levels.