GEORGE TOWN, Dec 30 ― The Penang government has received a preliminary report from Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang (PBAPP), regarding a burst pipeline incident in Sungai Perai, Butterworth, near here, and ordered five immediate measures to be implemented.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said among them is that PBAPP needs to monitor the Sungai Perai underground pipeline, which is being repaired daily until a permanent solution can be implemented.

“The permanent solution is to install a pipeline across the river, which will be supported by a structure above the surface and with an estimated cost of RM5 million. It should be completed as soon as possible in 2024, to allow for periodic inspections and avoid recurrence,” he said in a statement today.

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About 200,000 consumers in the Barat Daya (island part) and Seberang Perai experienced water supply disruption, following the temporary closure of a 1,350 millimetre (mm) pipeline in Sungai Perai, which burst on December 18.

He said that PBAPP also needs to detect and report the location of other underground pipelines in the state, and should carry out special inspections for all other pipelines to detect any danger or risk of similar accidents.

Chow said that the team of experts should regularly inspect all main pipelines which are 900mm and above, and explore methods to detect potential defects or failures.

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He said that, apart from that, the state government also requested the replacement of the old main pipeline which is 900mm and above, to be expedited.

“PBAP also needs to ensure the restoration of water supply services for the 590,000 water users affected by the scheduled water supply interruption from January 10, according to the previously announced schedule.

“Water supply for the remaining 0.2 per cent of affected users, which is about 1,000 users residing at the end of the distribution line and on higher ground with specific issues, must also be restored as soon as possible after 96 hours,” he said.

He added that, based on the findings from the initial report submitted by PBAPP, it was found that the cause of the incident was unknown, and difficult to ascertain because the pipeline was located 3.5 metres below at the bottom of Sungai Perai.

He said that the broken pipeline had to be repaired immediately as it caused a leak which resulted in a sudden drop in water pump pressure to 200,000 water users in Penang, which affected the water supply service to the Barat Daya district and some areas in Seberang Perai.

“The people and the state government expect PBAPP to do more and perform better from January 2024,” he said. ― Bernama