Singapore, 7 June 2021 – Civil engineering company Tong Shing Contractors Private Limited (Tong Shing) has been fined S$41,500 on 18 May 2021 on two charges—for causing damage to a 700-millimetre diameter potable water main and carrying out works within a water pipe corridor without PUB’s prior approval. This is the company’s first conviction.
The incident occurred on 22 December 2018 when Tong Shing was carrying out pipe jacking works across Admiralty Road West as part of road-widening and infrastructure works. The head of the pipe jacking machine struck the 700-millimetre water main at a depth of about 3.7-millimetre below the road surface and punctured it. The leak resulted in the loss of 1.8 million litres of potable water, enough to fill about two-thirds of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. As a result of the incident, three traffic lanes at Admiralty Road West near the junction of Dahan Road were also affected.
PUB was alerted and immediately went on site to isolate the leak and carry out urgent repair works, which uncovered a hole of about 300 millimetres on the water main. Investigations revealed that Tong Shing did not carry out adequate site verification works to physically ascertain the exact location and alignment of the affected water main before commencement of works. In addition, Tong Shing proceeded with pipe jacking works without submitting a plan for PUB’s approval as required and failed to take all reasonable precautions to minimise the risk of damage.
PUB takes a serious view of water main damage resulting in water wastage which can be prevented if due diligence is exercised. Contractors should always refer to PUB’s advisory on the prevention of damage to water pipe infrastructure before carrying out any construction works. They must exercise caution when carrying out works near water mains and ensure that adequate measures are in place to prevent damage.
Under the Public Utilities Act, the penalty for damaging a water main or connecting pipe with a diameter of 300mm or more is a fine of up to S$200,000 or imprisonment for up to three years, or both. Contractors who carry out works in the vicinity of water mains without an approved plan are liable to a fine of up to S$10,000.
– Construction+ Online