Bengoh dam water safe, not contaminated – Dr Rundi

Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi

KUCHING: Water from the Bengoh Dam is not contaminated and is safe for consumption.

Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi said Kuching Water Board (KWB) has been monitoring the quality of the raw water from Bengoh Dam very closely since February last year.

He added that raw water samples from the dam reservoir are sent regularly on a monthly basis to the Department of Chemistry for compliance tests.

The tests include those for microbiology, heavy metals including lead, and biocides which encompass pesticides, insecticides and weedicides.

“For raw water, the samples are taken from the bottom, middle and top levels of the dam. The average values ​​lead content in the raw water in 2017 at these three levels are 0.001mg/l, 0.001mg/l and 0.001mg/l respectively.

“These values ​​are well below the maximum acceptable level of 0.05 mg/l as stipulated in the Recommended Raw Water Quality criteria of the National Standard for Drinking Water Quality issued by the Ministry of Health Malaysia,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He was responding to state PKR vice chairman Boniface Willy Tumek’s claims that water from Bengoh Dam may be contaminated by lead from 600 solar batteries used by two now-submerged villages – Kampung Rejoi and Kampung Taba Sait – to store solar energy.

Dr Rundi also noted that KWB is also closely monitoring the treated water quality, including lead content, at Batu Kitang Water Treatment Plant.

He said the average value for lead in the treated water in 2017 is less than 0.001 mg/l which is well below the maximum acceptable value of 0.01 mg/l as stipulated in the National Standard for Drinking Water Quality issued by the Ministry of Health Malaysia.

“Based on the compliance test results, both the raw water and treated water comply with the National Standard for Drinking Water Quality.

“Therefore, the treated water from Batu Kitang Water Treatment Plant is safe for consumption,” he assured.

Boniface on Wednesday alleged that the estimated 600 solar batteries were not removed from the two villages and are now submerged in water and leaking lead into the water in the dam.

He told a press conference that with the ongoing problem of seepage at Bengoh Dam, the operator of the dam has been discharging water from the dam into the river downstream around the clock.

If indeed the batteries were left submerged in the lake of Bengoh Dam and were now leaking lead into the water, “there is every possibility that consumers of water from Batu Kitang water treatment plant have been consuming water contaminated with lead,” added Boniface.


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