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Activated carbon to counter Likas foul smell
Published on: Tuesday, September 20, 2022
By: Sidney Skinner
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Left: DOE and SSD officers look on as the canisters are being put in place in the roadside drain near the condominiums. Right: The activated carbon in the canister filters the sewage in the drain to reduce the H2S gas given off by the effluent.
Canisters of activated carbon have been put in place along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens to minimise the recurring nuisance created by the stench coming from a section of the roadside drain between some condominiums and the Rural Development Corporation’s market grounds in Likas Bay. 

A Sewage Services Department (SSD) spokesman said the foul smell was a result of the effluent which was being emptied into the drain, while the agency endeavours to finish repairing the damaged sewer mains beneath the verge. 

She said there was a strong possibility of “the manholes downstream” overflowing if the sewage was not released in this manner.

These manholes included those around the Sabah International Convention Centre, Jesselton Mall, Suria Sabah and the central banking district in the City, according to her.

“This has already happened on a few occasions over the past two years,” she said.

Owing to the feedback from the condominium occupants about the stink, she said, the Department had previously tried adding microbes to the effluent upstream from the property.

The rehabilitation effort for the damaged sewer line involves the CIPP process seen in the graphic.

 “When the nuisance came back again at the end of last month, we decided to try using activated carbon instead.

“The canisters filter the water in the drain, with the activated carbon meant to reduce the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas given off by the effluent among these fluids.

“The activated carbon filters had proven effective in minimising a similar stink in the Asia City area of the City.”

H2S had an uncomfortable odour which was akin to that emitted by rotten eggs and occurred naturally around sewers, according to her.

The spokeswoman said the agency’s staff had been making daily checks on the H2S levels in this part of Likas Bay – once in the morning and again in the afternoon – since the canisters were first installed earlier this month. 

On the repairs to the sewer line, she said the first part of this rehabilitation effort was due to be completed by October.

“This involves a two kilometre span of the pipes near the condominiums. 

“We are keen to avoid excavating down to the affected sewer mains so a cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) method is being employed by our contractor.”

She explained that a carpet-like liner tube was affixed to the inside of the damaged pipe with a resin as part of the CIPP process.

“The contractor is in the midst of de-silting the existing mains along this part of Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens. The lining will be inserted after this is done.”

The damage to the pipes near the condominiums first came to light two years ago, according to her.

She explained that the mains were found to have deteriorated due to wear and tear.

“Parts of the sewer-line had collapsed because of their age and the corrosive impact of the effluent inside.

“The completion of the first half of the rehabilitation effort will allow the sewage to be properly channelled to our pumping-station on Jalan Mergastua in Likas.

She said the second half involved refurbishing the remaining six-kilometre span of the sewer mains from this station to the oxidation ponds on Jalan Pintas Ujana.

“The upgrading work is being carried out as part of the ‘Rancangan Malaysia ke-12 (Twelfth Malaysia Plan)’ with funds from the Ministry of Finance.”

A spokesman for the Department of the Environment (DOE) said the agency’s personnel had been present when the activated carbon filters were being put in place along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens.

“Our staff noted that that the stench in this part of Likas Bay was particularly pronounced,” he said.

“This nuisance was triggered by the murky, black effluent which escaping into the drain near the main road.” 

He said DOE officers were working together with their peers from the SSD to reduce the inconvenience caused by the foul odour.

Both spokesmen were responding to complaints by three different motorists about the stink which permeated their vehicles even though none of the windows were open.

They wondered if excrement was winding up in the roadside drain due to the strong ammonia-like smell which came in through their ventilation vents when they drove past this section of Likas Bay.

They voiced their concern about the negative impact these stinking fumes were likely to have on the wellbeing of those who lived and worked in the area.

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