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Parliament Q&A

Oral Reply by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliamentary Question on Illegal Discharge of Wastewater, on 6 Aug 2019

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources in the last five years, how many companies have been prosecuted for illegal discharge of wastewater into our public sewage system and how many of these have been second-time offenders and multiple repeat offenders.

Reply by Dr Amy Khor:

1. Under the Sewerage and Drainage Act, companies have to obtain Written Approvals from PUB before they can discharge industrial used water or trade effluent into the sewers. Any discharge has to comply with stipulated quality requirements. 

2. PUB has a comprehensive programme in place to tackle discharge which do not comply with quality requirements. This consists of online sensors in the public sewerage system for effective monitoring and early detection, periodic inspections of premises as well as engagement of companies to comply with the quality requirements. These efforts complement the penalty framework that PUB has in place.

3. While most companies abide by the quality requirements, PUB has prosecuted 119 companies since 2014 for illegal discharge of trade effluent into the sewers, where the discharge did not comply with stipulations. Of these, 21 companies are second-time offenders, and another 23 companies committed the offences more than two times.

4. Repeat offenders will face harsher penalties and be subjected to more frequent inspections by PUB.  PUB may also suspend or revoke the Written Approval granted to the company for the discharge of trade effluent into the sewers. For severe cases where the discharge contains toxic, dangerous or hazardous substances, PUB will issue an immediate stop-order notice to prevent the company from further discharging trade effluent into the public sewers. The order will be lifted only when the company has implemented remedial measures. 

5. We take a serious view of illegal discharge of trade effluent into our sewers. We will not hesitate to take enforcement action against companies that threaten the quality of our water supply.

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