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Overflowing manholes bad for business
Published on: Friday, August 05, 2022
By: Sidney Skinner
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The Mall’s management may be asked to put a central grease trap, like this one at the Central Market, in place.
THE management of an Inanam mall may be required to have a central grease trap installed as a means of mitigating the recurring sewerage woes at the industrial centre next door.

Manholes on Lorong Cempedak 6A at the latter have been overflowing, on and off for the past two years, which has proven bad for business.

Shop owners in this part of the centre have lost both walk-in customers and potential tenants due to the effluent which soils the road.

City Hall, meanwhile, has exhausted its options on how to minimise the recurring nuisance posed by the foul odour.

A spokesman for its Engineering Department said the contractor, tasked with maintaining the line, had repeatedly found the sewer line clogged with bits of congealed grease.

The grease-traps for the individual stalls, such as the one here, are found to be in order.

He said the individual’s workers had to enter the pipes in some instances to remove these blockages.  

The sewer line had also been flushed with a high-pressure jets of water several times since 2020, to dislodge the more stubborn obstructions inside, according to him.

“We suspect that activities at a foodcourt operating in the mall may be contributing to this problem,” he said. 

“Our colleagues at the Health and Environment Department (HED) have made multiple inspections of the stalls and eateries in the surrounding area to ensure that the operators are disposing of their used cooking oil properly.

“The manholes at the centre are still overflowing, in spite of all these efforts, so we are now deliberating over whether the mall needs a central grease trap.” 

Such a facility was in use at the Central Market in KK where there were over 90 food stalls in operation.

The spokesman said City Hall would keep a close eye on the condition of the sewer mains servicing Mile 7.5 Jalan Tuaran, while it worked to try and resolve the sewerage problems at the centre. 

“Our contractor has been told to make regular checks of these pipes as well as the sewerage pump between the two commercial properties.

“We asked him to be mindful of any issues with the power supply which may cause the pump to trip, as this might cause the level of the effluent in the pipes to rise.”

He said the manholes at the centre were also prone to overflowing when it rained heavily due to the amount of run off which entered the sewer-line. 

A HED spokeswoman said there were about 30 hawkers based at the Mall’s foodcourt.

“Inspectors with our Food Safety and Quality Division confirmed that each of the stalls was equipped with a grease trap and that the mall had a main manhole,” she said.

“They noted the presence of eight manholes between Lorong Cempedak 6A and the road in front of the Mall.”   

She said HED personnel didn’t find anything amiss with the individual grease-traps when the Division most recently inspected the foodcourt.

“Nevertheless, the kitchen staff and shop operators, whom they met, were advised on how to go about cleaning these devices.”

The spokeswoman stressed that the oily discharge from these devices should be removed daily.

“Don’t wait to clean the traps only as and when it becomes necessary to do so.”

The spokeswoman said City Hall would be keeping tabs on eateries at both properties to ensure that the used cooking oil was not being haphazardly released.

“We hope to impress upon these proprietors the need to deal with the unwanted cooking oil responsibly.

“They shouldn’t be tardy in cleaning their grease traps and they should not modify the devices outside of our approved specifications.

“It is crucial that they get the message as the sewer pipes here have repeatedly been clogged with bits of congealed grease, causing some of the manholes here to overflow.” 

ALAIN of Inanam said he had lost a substantial amount of business due to the recurring sewerage problems at the centre. “No one wants to rent my unit because the road in front of it is repeatedly covered with effluent,” he said. 

“Those who have taken the shop do not stay for long. 

“They have told me that the foul smell deters customers from patronising their business and bemoan their inability to use the toilet in my unit.”

He said the manholes on the stretch had been overflowing on and off since June 2020.

“City Hall has been informed about the occurrences over the years but, up to now, the authority has not managed to settle this problem.”

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