Oral Reply to Parliamentary Question on Illegal Dumping of Substances in Public Sewers by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment in light of recent cases of companies being fined for illegally dumping toxic and hazardous substances into public sewers (a) how are fines for first-time and repeated offenders determined for such offences; (b) whether the Ministry will consider reviewing the adequacy of existing penalties to provide greater deterrence against such offences; and (c) how are workers who maintain the public sewerage system protected from the effects of toxic and hazardous substances in the aftermath of such dumping acts.
1 The penalties for the illegal disposal of hazardous substances into the public sewerage system are set out under the Sewerage and Drainage Act and Sewerage and Drainage (Trade Effluent) Regulations. Penalties are set to be commensurate with the impact of the discharge on the public sewerage system and NEWater production. Repeat offenders will face harsher penalties. The penalties are reviewed and updated regularly.
2 All workers maintaining the sewerage system are required to don Personal Protective Equipment when performing their work. Companies who do not comply will be impacted when tendering for future PUB projects, including possible debarment. In addition, PUB has put in place an island-wide network of real-time sensors in the public sewerage system to detect hazardous concentrations of toxic substances in used water. This provides PUB with the triggers to respond quickly to incidents and ensure the safety of workers.