Tip of the excavator bucket punctured a water main at the construction site (Source: PUB).

Company fined $44,500 for unauthorised excavation works and damage to water main

Construction company Megastone Holdings Pte Ltd was fined $44,500 for carrying out excavation works without an approved plan from National Water Agency PUB and damaging a 300 mm diameter water main along Pan Island Expressway (PIE), which led to a loss of approximately 1.8 million litres of potable water, equivalent to three quarters the size of an Olympic swimming pool.

PUB noted that it had to shut down the water main to carry out urgent repair works to avoid further disruption of water supply to the customer and minimise water loss.

According to the authority, water supply to the airport catering company, SATS Inflight Catering, was disrupted for about two hours.

PUB stated that on 27 March 2018, Megastone Holdings conducted excavation works at a slip road from Pan Island Expressway (PIE) to Airport Boulevard for the purpose of laying a precast drain. An underground water main was punctured when the tip of the excavator bucket hit the water main.

Investigations revealed that the contractor had failed to exercise due diligence when conducting excavation works in the vicinity of a water main.

PUB said that the contractor had excavated an area more than what was earlier marked out on site. The steel plate welded at the end of the excavator bucket to prevent puncturing of any underground pipes had also dropped off during the excavation.​​​

​​​In addition, the contractor had failed to submit a plan to PUB as required, prior to carrying out excavation work that falls within 10m laterally from the centreline of the 300mm diameter water main.

The plan should be endorsed by a professional engineer and contain information on the impact assessment and methodology of carrying out the excavation works, and an instrumentation and monitoring proposal, added the authority.

Megastone Holdings was charged under the Public Utilities Act and the Public Utilities (Protection of Water Pipes Infrastructure) Regulations, and fined a total of $44,500 for its offences.

The penalty for damaging PUB water main or connecting pipe with a diameter of 300mm or more is a fine of up to $200,000 or imprisonment for up to three years, or both; while offences for carrying out works within the vicinity of water mains without an approved plan from PUB carry a fine of up to $10,000.

This is Megastone Holding’s first offence, PUB noted. ​​​

​​​PUB stated that it has taken enforcement action against 34 contractors for causing damage to water mains or connecting pipes since 2015.

PUB stressed that it takes a serious view against acts of water wastage, which could be prevented if due diligence had been exercised by all parties. Contractors should always refer to PUB’s advisory on the prevention of damage to water pipe infrastructure before carrying out any construction works.