JBALB instructed to probe allegation Sg Sadong is highly toxic

A JBALB staff taking water samples from Sungai Sadong.

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KUCHING, June 25: Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom has instructed the Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) to immediately investigate an allegation that raw water supply to the Slabi Water treatment plant is toxic due to high level of poisoning from its source — Sungai Sadong.

He assured consumers in Serian that his ministry was taking the allegation seriously and had made it its top priority in ensuring that the water is safe for consumption.

“JBALB has taken samples from the Slabi water treatment plant and they will be sent to two different laboratories. One sample has been sent to a government laboratory and another one to a private laboratory. The results will be known soon,” Dr Rundi said in a statement here today.

He was responding to a recent news report which quoted DAP Serian chief Edward Andrew Luak as saying that raw water from Sungai Sadong was highly toxic as it was fed by its tributary Sungai Kedup, which, Edward claimed, was highly toxic due to the rampant use of pesticide and weedicide in the oil palm industry in the area.

“Both my ministry and JBALB are committed to ensure that the safety of our consumers is guaranteed. And at the same time, we would also like to assure that our water supply is based on the high-quality standard of water supply to the community,” he emphasized.

Dr Rundi disclosed that NREB had been monitoring the water source at Kampung Slabi Empurung since 2000, based on its ‘River Water Quality Monitoring Programme’.

“Additionally, JBALB is also monitoring the water supply at the Slabi Water Treatment Plant to ensure that the water quality is safe for consumption,” he said, adding that the water quality is based on the National Standard for Drinking Water Quality set by the Ministry of Health.

“The NREB has classified the Water Quality Index of Sungai Sadong as in Class 2, which means that the water needs to be treated by using conventional methods,” said Dr Rundi. — DayakDaily