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Water Treatment Systems Installed At Three Retails Food Establishments At Pulau Ubin



    Siglap Citizens’
Consultative Committee



Water Treatment Systems Installed At Three Retails Food Establishments At Pulau Ubin

Ground-up co-solution helps to enhance public safety and restore confidence

Singapore, 31 January 2015 – Water treatment systems have been installed at three of the seven licensed retail food establishments at Pulau Ubin. So far, the treated water from two of the three systems has been tested and found to be safe for the preparation of food and drinks for sale by these operators. The operators have also committed to ensuring the regular maintenance of the treatment system as this is critical to ensure that the water treatment system continues to perform as designed.

2     This interim co-solution was developed and co-ordinated by Siglap Citizens' Consultative Committee (CCC) and the Corporate Citizen Foundation (CCF), a registered Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), with the support of various government agencies. This is part of a People, Private and Public (3P) sector effort to provide assistance to the retail food establishments at Pulau Ubin whose well water quality had deteriorated.

3     "Grassroots adviser to East Coast GRC Grassroots Organisations Dr Maliki Osman highlighted, “This positive outcome would not have been possible without the co-operation and assistance rendered by the relevant stakeholders. In particular, CCF who has done much humanitarian relief work overseas and is now helping with the local community, Wise INC for being the pro-bono project manager, HSL Constructor Pte Ltd for sponsoring the costs of the water treatment systems and the youth volunteers activated to help paint the water treatment systems.”

4     In December 2015, NEA had issued a Notice to all licensed retail food establishments to require them to boil the well water for at least one minute continuously before using it for the preparation of food and drinks for sale. Alternatively, they are required to use bottled water or PUB water from the mainland for this purpose. This directive was issued because testing of samples of tap water drawn from the wells used by the retail food establishments showed the presence of Escherichia coli (or E. coli) bacteria and total coliform bacteria. The presence of these bacteria indicated that the water may be contaminated with harmful micro-organisms that could result in symptoms similar to food poisoning such as nausea, diarrhoea and fever.

5     Concerned about how the detection of contaminants in the water would affect the residents and shop owners there, grassroots adviser Dr Maliki Osman, as well as grassroots leaders and volunteers from Siglap and Pulau Ubin took action when the news broke. They visited every household and shop to gather feedback and distribute advisories on water safety measures so that they could find an interim solution to address the matter quickly.

6     PUB provided technical advice on the system configuration to optimise the efficacy of the water treatment system installed at retail food establishments located at 20 Pulau Ubin (Cheong Lian Yuen), 40 Pulau Ubin (Sin Lam Huat) and 59E Pulau Ubin (Season Live Seafood). PUB and NEA have so far tested the water produced by the water treatment systems installed at 40 Pulau Ubin (Sin Lam Huat) and 59E Pulau Ubin (Season Live Seafood) and found that the E. coli bacteria and total coliform bacteria were not detected. The earlier concerns with the quality of the raw well water have thus been addressed, and these retail food establishments may use such water after treatment, in lieu of boiling the raw well water, for potable uses. NEA will continue with its sampling regime for retail food establishments to ensure compliance to Environmental Public Health (Food Hygiene) Regulations.

7     Members of the public visiting the island are advised to consume either boiled water or treated water, instead of water from the taps in the public restrooms which are not from these water treatment systems.

8     The Government is exploring the use of on-site water treatment units that will be suitable for Pulau Ubin, so as to improve access to potable water on the island for residents and visitors of Pulau Ubin and will continue to ensure that the health and safety of residents and visitors are protected.