14 contractors fined by PUB for drainage and other offences

Fourteen construction and building contractors were slapped with fines by national water agency PUB, including the firm responsible for the flood in the Thomson area on Christmas Eve last year.

The company, Sato Kogyo, received the heftiest fine of $14,000, PUB said in a statement yesterday.

It was fined $8,000 for altering the public drainage system across Upper Thomson Road (near Lorong Mega) without PUB's approval and $6,000 for constructing a temporary diversion drain along Jalan Keli, opposite Thomson Plaza, without notifying PUB.

"These acts contributed to the flood in the area on Christmas Eve in 2016," the agency said.

Photos and videos showed that several eateries in Upper Thomson Road had water levels rising to knee-deep levels after the downpour.

Besides Sato Kogyo, 13 other contractors and two qualified persons were punished for drainage-related offences and a failure to supervise drainage works. In total, six contractors, including Sato Kogyo, were fined between $3,000 and $8,000 for unauthorised alterations of the public drainage system. Seven were fined between $2,000 and $4,000 for obstructing the drainage system without approval. The remaining company was fined $1,500 for carrying out works that are not in accordance with the code of practice.

PUB said that it uncovered these offences during its regular inspections of construction sites and investigations following public feedback.

PUB's director of catchment and waterways Ridzuan Ismail said that it is crucial for contractors to exercise due diligence to ensure that their works do not affect the functioning of the public drainage system. This is especially so with many constructions projects taking place near or next to such systems, he added.

"Drains must be kept free-flowing so that they can convey stormwater away quickly during heavy rain to reduce flood risks," he said.

Contractors must seek PUB's approval before carrying out any works that may interfere with the public drainage system. Those found guilty of carrying out works that affect the system may be fined up to $50,000. For unauthorised alterations of the public drainage system, offenders may be fined up to $20,000.