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KUCHING, Nov 13: Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom refuted media reports that the Bengoh dam had sprung a leak, assuring that the Bengoh Dam is ‘technically and structurally sound and stable’.
He said the photos of the dam’s purported leakage, published today in many local papers, was a wet patch due to seepage.
“In the construction of concrete dams, construction, contraction and thermal movement joints are part of the structure. Some water flow through these joints is expected.
“What was seen on site was actually a designed contraction joint, and not a crack as alleged. Some seepages through the joint are expected, and the wet patch seen on this area is due to this seepage,” he told reporters today on the sidelines of the State Legislative Assembly.
He said the seepage was first noticed two months ago and the contractor, Naim, would rectify it by patching it.
The Bengoh Dam has been operational and fully performing its function as designed since the end of 2015.
Rundi also said the recent lowering of the reservoir water level was in accordance with the operation procedures advised by the dam’s consultant.
“It was a planned lowering of the water levels releasing the water through the draw off culvert and was not caused by any fault or dam leakage,” he said, adding that the dam’s integrity and safety are not compromised.
He said the dam’s safety was confirmed by the dam consultant and their specialist from Halcrow Consultant, United Kingdom, during their recent periodic inspection visit to the site in late October 2017.
In the very unlikely event of an emergency situation, the relevant parties, including residents downstream, would be informed immediately and an evacuation plan triggered.
“Evacuation areas on higher grounds have been designated, and the emergency response plan (ERP) would be immediately executed.
“Headmen of all the affected villagers had participated in a dialogue and workshop on the ERP,” he said.
However, a headman from the area, who is also a reporter present at the press conference, pointed out that some of the safety measures discussed in the dialogue, such as sirens along the river, was never implemented until today. — DayakDaily