Johor Orders Shutdown of Poultry Farm, Fertiliser Processing Plant

MALAYSIA - The state government has ordered the closure of both the poultry farm and a fertiliser processing plant which caused a major ammonia contamination in Sungai Johor recently.
calendar icon 1 November 2017
clock icon 4 minute read

New Straits Times reports that the state government is also contemplating taking further legal action, under the state's Water Supply Enactment 2014, which could result in the owner being issued with a compound of up to RM250,000 or being summoned for up to RM500,000, depending on the severity of the offences.

State Public Works and Rural and Regional Development Executive Committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammed said the decision to close both premises comes after the failure of the owner to take preventive measures.

This is in regards to stopping further contamination from the fertiliser processing facility despite having been issued with three notices from the Veterinary Services Department (DVS) to do so since December last year.

According to Mr Hasni, the poultry farm operator was identified as Lew Peng Enterprise while and the fertiliser plant is managed by United Propel Sdn Bhd, both of which are under the same ownership.

They were found to have committed the offences once in December 2016 and twice in 2017, in August and October.

"This is the third incident involving the same poultry farm owner and the state government can no longer tolerate this as we have given the owner ample time to rectify their operations," he said.

He said the poultry farm was found to be producing 40 tonne of chicken manure daily and their waste management system could not cope with the volume as one of the machines had broken down for the past one month.

"We also have rejected the company's application to change the status of the land, which is currently meant for rubber plantation, to industrial land to enable them to run the fertiliser processing plant as the operation had clearly caused severe damage to the environment," said Mr Hasni.

He said the state government is taking this action as a serious step to prevent future river contamination incident from ever recurring in state's rivers.

Last week, ammonia contamination in Sungai Johor caused SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd to temporarily shut down the operation of three water treatment plants, the Sungai Johor, Semangar and Tai Hong plants.

The temporary shutdown affected the water supply to 360,000 account holders, comprising about 1.8 million consumers, in Johor Baru, Kulai, Iskandar Puteri and Kota Tinggi.

Following the incident, the Lingiu Dam, located downstream, released 900 million litres of water into Sungai Johor to flush the ammonia contamination.

"We are also in the midst of identifying poultry farms operating along rivers or raw water sources, mostly in Muar, Tangkak and Pontian, for possible relocation to proper areas," said Mr Hasni.

He said farms which do not pose any environmental threats despite operating near river will be allowed to continue with their operations but farms which flouted the regulation will be relocated.

The state government had also come to a decision not to renew any licenses of poultry farm owners who fail to comply to the environmental regulations as directed by the DVS.

"We will also not allow activities such as sand dredging along the rivers and tributaries to be carried out if they are found to cause damages to the rivers," Mr Hasni said.

However, he said sand dredging activity which do not cause damage or affect the river condition and the surrounding environment will be allowed to continue with strict monitoring.

"Any activities which affect the quality of the raw water from the river will no longer be compromised as severe action will be taken on a case by case basis," he said.

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