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Waste management firm fined S$17,000 for illegal discharge into sewers, tampering with monitoring equipment: PUB

SINGAPORE — A toxic industrial waste management company has been fined S$17,000 for illegally discharging trade effluent into public sewers, and for tampering with monitoring equipment used to detect such practices.

Waste management firm fined S$17,000 for illegal discharge into sewers, tampering with monitoring equipment: PUB

Abnormally high levels of regulated substances such as heavy metals found on several occasions in the public sewers located around Tuas were traced to NSL Oilchem Logistics' premises along Tuas Avenue 12 (pictured).

SINGAPORE — A toxic industrial waste management company has been fined S$17,000 for illegally discharging trade effluent into public sewers, and for tampering with monitoring equipment used to detect such practices.

The firm, NSL Oilchem Logistics, is a repeat offender and had been convicted in 2018 for similar offences and fined S$12,200, national water agency PUB said on Wednesday (Nov 24).

The company’s latest offences took place on two occasions last year — Sept 24 and Oct 26. It faced three charges for the incidents and was convicted on Oct 12, 2021, PUB added in its news release.

Between August and October last year, PUB’s regular sampling regime had detected abnormally high levels of regulated substances such as heavy metals and chemical oxygen demand on several occasions at night in the public sewers located around Tuas.

Chemical oxygen demand is the amount of dissolved oxygen that must be present in water to oxidise chemical organic materials. It is usually used to gauge the impact wastewater effluents or discharge will have on the oxygen levels of the receiving water bodies, sewers or the sea.

PUB said that the abnormal readings were traced to NSL Oilchem’s premises at Tuas Avenue 12.

During a routine inspection on Sept 24 last year when samples of trade effluent were collected, NSL Oilchem was found to have discharged non-compliant trade effluent containing heavy metals beyond permissible levels into the public sewers.

A surprise late-night inspection by PUB officers the following month caught personnel from NSL Oilchem in the act of illegally discharging trade effluent.

This time, the firm had also tampered with the monitoring equipment and sampling tubes placed at the inspection chamber to avoid detection by PUB.

Mr Maurice Neo, PUB’s water reclamation network director, said that the quality of used water in the sewers is closely monitored through real-time sensors and regular sampling.

There is also a zero-tolerance policy towards any illegal trade effluent discharge or any acts of monitoring equipment tampering.

“Such acts disrupt our used water reclamation processes and also endanger the health and safety of our workers,” Mr Neo added.

Because of its repeated offences and for tampering with monitoring equipment, PUB revoked NSL Oilchem’s approval to discharge trade effluent into the sewers on Oct 26 last year. This was reinstated only on Aug 17 this year after the firm met conditions set out by the agency.

Those found guilty of illegal discharge of non-compliant trade effluent can be fined up to S$15,000 or jailed up to three months, or both.

Related topics

court crime fine industrial waste wastewater effluent discharge PUB

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