PUB takes bold move on Johor River pollution, assures impure water won't affect Singapore

Johor state government is going to close chicken egg farm and chicken feces fertilizer plants which caused ammonia pollution of Johor River.

Malaysia's southern city of Johor Bahru from Singapore
Malaysia's southern city of Johor Bahru Reuters

Singapore's national water agency Public Utilities Board (PUB) said that the pollution problem in Johor River will not affect the Lion City's water supply as they have decided to stop the operations of desalination plants and Johor River Waterworks (JRWW) temporarily on October 29, Sunday.

"Johor River Waterworks has to temporarily stop treatment operations at 11 am on Oct 28 due to pollution in the Johor River with high ammonia levels," said PUB in a Facebook post on Sunday.

"The stoppage of treatment operations at JRWW disrupted its supply to Singapore and some parts of Johor," it added.

Check out the post here:

Media Statement by PUB

The water agency also said that they will keep a track of the raw quality of the river and side-by-side will "resume abstraction and treatment of raw water when the water quality is suitable".

Meanwhile, Johor state government has announced that since the chicken egg farm and chicken feces fertilizer plants are the culprits behind the ammonia pollution of Johor River, the authority has decided to close those plants in Layang-Layang, Kluang.

The Chief Minister of Malaysian state of Johor, Mohamed Khaled bin Nordin said that they had a meeting with Johor Water Regulatory Body (Bakaj), SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd (SAJ Ranhill), Department of Environment and the Kulai District Land Office and few more agencies on October 30, Monday, where it was decided to ask all these firms and plants to shut down.

The level of Johor River pollution became so high that since October 27, Friday authority had to close three water treatment plants. It has caused an unfortunate water supply disruption in Johor Bahru, which affected almost 1.8 million residents.

According to Today Online, Dr. Mohammad Ezanni Mat Salleh, the Johor Department of Environment (DoE) director said that on the banks of a side-stream of Johor River, called Sungai Sayong there is an illegal poultry farm, which is working without receiving an approval from DOE's office.

He also mentioned that Johor Veterinary Services Department or the District Land Office has the authority to close the illegal factory by passing the order.

"The factory uses manure from the chicken to make fertilizer. Much of the fertilizer is improperly stored. The fertilizer products and chicken manure are stacked and exposed to the elements," Dr. Ezanni further added.

"When it rains, the water soaks these items and the water seeps into the ground and flows into the river. This leads to high content of ammonia in the river," he concluded.