Construction company CCECC Singapore Pte Ltd (CCECC) was fined a total of $44,000 on 3 July 2018 for damaging PUB's potable water main, at a worksite along the junction of Tampines Avenue 5 and Tampines Central 2.
In a press release on Monday (13 August), PUB stated that the damage of a 300 mm diameter water main on 3 November 2017 led to water overflowing onto the road and water supply disruption to four commercial premises nearby - Tampines Bus Interchange, Eastlink Mall Food Court, Tampines Plaza and the CPF Building Branch.
It noted that the amount of water wasted was about 4,000 cubic metres of water, which can fill 1.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
CCECC was the sub-contractor engaged by Hexacon Construction to carry out works as part of the construction of an overhead bridge at Tampines Avenue 5.
As per requirement before the commencement of construction works, CCECC had obtained a copy of the PUB Water Main Service Plan and a list of the "Dos and Don'ts" on the Prevention of Damage to Water Mains. However, the authority stated that CCECC failed to abide by the Public Utilities (Protection of Water Pipes Infrastructure) Regulations to apply and obtain prior approval for exposing the three buried water mains at the worksite.
PUB added that CCECC also failed to provide adequate protection and install proper pipe supports to support the exposed water mains, which caused a water main to dislodge at the joint thus resulting in water leak. The water had flooded the worksite trench (19 metres length, 6.6 metres width and 4 metres deep) and overflowed onto the road, with water supply disruption to the four buildings in Tampines.
The authority stated that CCECC was charged under the Public Utilities Act Section 47A (1)(b) for damaging a 300mm diameter water main and fined $42,000.
The company was also charged for carrying out activities without the prior approval of PUB under the Public Utilities (Protection of Water Pipes Infrastructure) Regulations reg. 5(1) and fined $2,000, which is CCECC's first offence.
Under the Public Utilities (Protection of Water Pipes Infrastructure) Regulations, it is mandatory to notify or seek prior approval from PUB before specified activities can be carried out within the specified protection corridors of the water mains.
A Qualified Person (QP) or registered Professional Engineer (PE) or contractor/ person carrying out activity where PUB permits, must obtain approval from PUB or notify PUB (for water mains below 300mm diameter) of the detailed plans for the specified activity.
PUB stressed that this is to ensure that contractors put in place adequate safeguards or measures to prevent damaging the water mains, which can lead to the disruption of water supply to consumers, water wastage and public inconvenience. To facilitate this, contractors shall obtain the PUB Water Services Plan and the Prevention of Damage to Water Mains Advisory and comply with the requirements.
Under the Public Utilities Act Section 47A to protect water infrastructure against damage, the penalty for causing damage to PUB water mains with a diameter of 300mm or more is a fine up to $200,000, or imprisonment for up to three years, or both.
The Public Utilities (Protection of Water Pipes Infrastructure) Regulations carries a maximum fine of $10,000, and in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding $250 every day or part of the day during which the offence continues after conviction.
PUB noted that it offers composition sums to first-time offenders for damage of mains under 300mm diameter. For repeat offenders or damage to mains above 300mm diameter, PUB will take prosecution in court.