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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 storage tanks."

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.


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