News: Feng Ming Construction fined $55,000 for damaging water main

Sep 15, 2020

The incident led to a nine-and-a-half hours water disruption for 38 households within the area. Photo: PUB

Construction firm, Feng Ming Construction, has been convicted last month of damaging a large water main and fined $55,000 – the highest fine imposed for water main damage under the Public Utilities Act, reported Channel News Asia (CNA) citing a PUB release.

The firm was also convicted of carrying out unauthorised sheet piling installation works at Dunearn Road and fined $1,500.

Feng Ming Construction carried out the sheet piling works on 20 September 2019 as part of the road widening project within the Bukit Timah area.

During the works, a piling machine punctured a 500mm diameter water main with a depth of 2.5m under the road surface, when it was driving a steel sheet pile into the ground.

“PUB was alerted and immediately went on site to isolate the leak and carry out urgent repair works, which uncovered a hole of about 100mm by 30mm on the water main,” said PUB as quoted by CNA.

“The damage led to substantial loss of approximately 468,000L of potable water, enough to fill about one-fifth of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.”

The incident led to a nine-and-a-half hours water disruption for 38 households within the area. As such, PUB deployed a water wagon and provided the affected households with water bags.

Investigations showed that while the construction firm was aware of the underground water main’s existence, it failed to carry out “sufficient trial trenching evaluation to physically ascertain the exact location and alignment of the water main”.

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The Public Utilities Act provides that a penalty for damaging a water main or connecting pipe with a diameter of 300mm or more is a jail term of up to three years or a fine of up to $200,000, or both.

PUB noted that this was Feng Ming Construction’s second time to be convicted of damaging a large water main, said CNA.

In October 2013, the firm was convicted of damaging a 300mm diameter water main at Geylang Lorong 1 and fined $40,000.

As to the unauthorised works at Dunearm Road, Feng Ming Construction started sheet piling works even as it has not submitted a plan for approval of PUB.

Under the Public Utilities (Protection of Water Pipes Infrastructure) Regulations 2017, contractors installing sheet piles or any other similar installations should ensure that the activity is carried out based on an approved plan.

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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email victorkang@propertyguru.com.sg

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