Wednesday, 4 October 2023

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Two construction companies fined S$77,000 for damaging water mains

Two construction companies – HSC Pipeline Engineering Pte Ltd (HSC) and SNK Engineering & Trading Pte Ltd (SNK) were fined S$47,000 and S$30,000 in August 2018 for causing serious damage to PUB’s potable water mains.

According to Singapore’s national water agency PUB, the damage resulted in a combined water loss of more than 6,400 cubic metres, or nearly three Olympic-sized swimming pools.

HSC was charged for damaging a 1,200mm diameter water main on 17 Dec 2016 while carrying out underground pipe-jacking works at a work site located at the junction of Woodlands Avenue 8 and Woodlands Avenue 9.

Before carrying out any work in the vicinity of water mains, the authority stressed that the contactor is required to carry out trial trenches/ holes to determine the alignment and depth of the water mains, and submit the necessary documents to obtain PUB’s approval before commencing work.

However, HSC failed to ascertain the physical location of the water main, resulting in the jacking machine hitting the water main. PUB had to shut down the water main and received subsequent complaints of discoloured water supply from commercial premises nearby.

HSC was convicted on the charge under the Public Utilities Act Section 47A (1)(b) and fined $47,000. HSC previously also damaged a 150mm diameter pipe in June 2013 and the offence was compounded with a composition sum of $3,000.

Meanwhile, SNK was charged for damaging a 300mm diameter potable water main on 2 Oct 2017 at a construction site in Cecil Street.

SNK was a sub-contractor carrying out removal works of an existing drain to construct a new drain and walkway.

SNK punctured a hole on the water main when hacking the existing drain, which resulted in 360 cubic metres of water loss. The company failed to abide by PUB’s protection guidelines on working near water mains, and did not exercise the necessary precautions to minimise the risk of damage.

SNK was convicted on the charge under the Public Utilities Act Section 47A (1)(b).

This is SNK’s first offence and the company was fined $30,000.

PUB’s Director of Water Supply (Network) Department, Mr Ridzuan Ismail, said, “Water mains are important infrastructure that convey treated water from PUB’s water treatment plants and service reservoirs to the homes and offices in Singapore. PUB takes a serious view of damage to our water mains.”

“In severe cases, damaged mains can lead to a disruption in water supply or discoloured water to nearby amenities and cause inconvenience to users. We urge all contractors to exercise utmost caution and ensure adequate measures are in place when carrying out works near water mains,” he added.

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