Water tanks 'pose a danger'
13/01/2008 New Straits Times By Melissa Darlyne Chow
GEORGE TOWN: The laws and regulations governing water supply need to be
revised to plug a gap in the management of internal water systems.
Consumers Association of Penang president S.M. Mohamed Idris said there is
no law compelling management bodies of high-rise buildings to assume
responsibility for maintenance of internal water systems.
"The internal water systems in these buildings do not fall within the ambit
of the water supply authority, which is only responsible for distribution of
water up to the bulk meter.
"As a result, many internal water storage tanks have not been inspected for
years. The Water Services Industry Act should be amended to make the
management of high-rise buildings responsible for maintenance of their water
He cited the Singapore government's formulation of the Public Utilities
(Water Supply) Regulations and the Singapore Standard CP 48 -- Code of
Practice for Water Services three years ago.
The code, among others, provides for building owners, management
corporations and town councils in Singapore to engage a licensed plumber to
inspect water storage tanks at least once a year and, where necessary, to
clean and disinfect the tanks.
Idris said dirty water storage tanks posed a health risk to residents, as
they could result in bacterial or chemical contamination of the water from
dead birds or rodents.
"Also, tanks which are not properly maintained can become breeding grounds
for dengue-causing Aedes mosquitoes," he said, adding that the problem has
been ongoing for many years.
Idris and CAP research officer Uma Ramaswamy held up several bottles of
murky water taken from internal water storage tanks in several households.
Idris said CAP will be writing to the Health Ministry and the National Water
Management Commission to highlight the matter.
The commission, formed last March, is responsible for regulating water
supply and sewerage services in Peninsular Malaysia.