Burst 1,350mm pipeline in Sungai Prai: Some 200,000 water consumers affected

SEBERANG PRAI: About 200,000 consumers in parts of Seberang Prai and the southwest district on the island are affected following unscheduled water supply disruption due to a mishap at Sungai Prai.

The incident was caused by a burst 1,350mm-long pipeline lying on the riverbed of Sungai Prai.

Treated water from the Sungai Dua Water Treatment Plan (WTP) is pumped through this pipeline to the Third Penang Twin Submarine pipelines, and subsequently to the southwest district on the island.

Penang Water Supply Corporation chief executive officer K. Pathmanathan said PBAPP is implementing an emergency response plan to repair the burst 1,350mm water pipeline.

This is a major pipeline that delivers treated water from the Sungai Dua WTP to the 3rd Penang Twin Submarine pipelines that spans from Butterworth on the mainland to the Macallum area on Penang island.

The burst pipeline was discovered about 8.26am yesterday. PBAPP had to engage a specialist contractor based in Port Klang to investigate the mishap because the pipeline is lying on the riverbed, about 3.5m below the river surface.

A commercial diving team from Port Klang arrived at the scene yesterday evening.

PBAPP throttle valves to reduced water flow by about 75 per cent to facilitate underwater inspection work. The divers completed a night dive at 10.30pm yesterday.

During this preliminary inspection, the divers located a hole measuring about 20cm x 30cm on a ruptured section of the pipeline's surface. Today, specialist in underwater work were scheduled to commence repairs to the pipeline by welding a 60cm x 60cm steel plate over the ruptured section.

Pathmanathan said the welding works must be carried out underwater, about 3.5m below the river surface.

He said the Port Klang contractor would determine the best time to start work based on light for visibility and river conditions.

To facilitate the underwater welding work, PBAPP has to temporarily shut down the damaged 1,350mm pipeline.

This will cause an unscheduled water supply interruption for about 200,000 consumers in the southwest district of Penang island and some areas in Seberang Prai, he said.

Pathmanathan said, as this was an unscheduled event arising from a mishap and not a planned or scheduled event, PBAPP could not provide advance notice.

However, it said on Facebook that it advised the public to store water for use at 12.30am this morning.

PBAPP apologised for any inconvenience caused.

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