Overloading cause of surge vessel system burst, says SPLASH
KUALA LUMPUR: The surge vessel system burst at the Phase 3 Sungai Selangor Water Treatment Plant early this month was because of stress at the elbow joints primarily due to continuous overloading of the system.
Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (SPLASH,) in a statement yesterday, said the plant had 10 pumps on site when only five pumps were needed to produce treated water.
“Since 2013, SPLASH had written several letters to the Selangor government to highlight that its plants were not designed to operate beyond their design capacity on a long-term basis.
“It would cause intrinsic damage to the plants. It also posed high risks of breakdowns.
“The fact that the other four pumps were under repair during the incident was inconsequential and unrelated to the incident or operations of the plant.”
SPLASH said the surge vessel system exploded as the plant was about to resume operations upon the completion of repairs to a damaged check valve, ahead of schedule.
“This incident caused extensive structural damage to the surge vessel system. The urgency of restoration was critical that it required the immediate mobilisation of 50 workmen to work around the clock.
“It involved the extensive use of equipment — two mobile cranes, three excavators and eight welding sets.”
It added that SPLASH provided regular updates to National Water Services Commission Malaysia (SPAN) and Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Air Selangor) officials, who were present to monitor the operations.
“SPLASH carries out scheduled maintenance and is regularly audited by SPAN, with the latest audit conducted last year.
“It is committed to maintaining the highest standard of quality and preparedness for contingencies.”
SPLASH is certified by the international Quality, Environment, Safety and Health standards and has passed its yearly certification with zero non-conformity reports for the past seven years.
It also highlighted potential power disruptions in SPLASH plants as SPLASH’s operations and maintenance operators, Sungai Harmoni Sdn Bhd and Gamuda Water Sdn Bhd, have been served with writs of summons by Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) for recovery of unpaid electricity bills totalling RM36 million and RM39 million respectively.
“Shortly after Air Selangor acquired water companies Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd and Konsortium ABASS Sdn Bhd in 2016, Syabas, under the new administration, reduced payments to SPLASH to about 36 per cent of the billings,” it said.
“At that level, it was no longer possible for SPLASH’s operations and maintenance operators to pay their TNB bills, chemicals and other overheads. Prior to Air Selangor taking over Syabas, SPLASH operators had been able to fully settle all TNB bills.”
During dialogues organised by the Water, Energy and Green Technology Ministry to mediate between SPLASH and Syabas, 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 to fund its equity purchase of water companies.
“We are of the opinion that if Syabas/Air Selangor, as a group, is short of cash, then it should rightly seek cash injection from the state government rather than penalise SPLASH.
“Syabas’s top priority should be to pay its creditors and, only after doing so, advance any excess money to Air Selangor for lease rental or other payments.”
SPLASH has been called to regularly fulfil 110 per cent of its supply commitment while receiving payment of 36 per cent of its billings.
“In spite of having to suffer chronic underpayments, SPLASH is committed to ensuring an uninterrupted supply of water.
“When (Selangor Legislative Assembly Speaker) YB Hannah Yeoh and (Klang member of parliament) YB Charles Santiago rushed to lecture on responsibility and apportion blame, they must be blissfully uninformed.
“SPLASH has, at all times, produced water with the desired quality and quantity for Syabas according to demand and has never defaulted on its obligations as an operator under its Concession Agreement with the state government.”
Overloading caused a surge vessel system burst at the Phase 3 Sungai Selangor Water Treatment Plant in Ijok early this month.