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Action on home-owners who pollute drains
Published on: Friday, September 23, 2022
By: Sidney Skinner
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The concessionaire’s staff hosing down the drain in front of this house in Likas.
Kota Kinabalu homeowners should ensure that the pipes from their kitchen sinks are connected to the sewers so that the soiled water from their premises does not wind up creating a bad smell in their neighbourhoods.

A spokeswoman for City Hall’s Environmental Health Department said these fluids should not wind up in the common areas where they could become a nuisance to the public.

“To prevent your neighbours kicking up a stink about any unpleasant food odours make sure that the soiled water from your kitchens is channelled to the nearest manhole and not into the drain outside your fence,” she said. 

“Action can be taken against homeowners who pollute their drains with the oily discharge from their kitchens.” 

She declined to elaborate on the nature of this action but did not rule out the possibility of the agency’s Legal Department being roped in to intervene, if worse came to worse.

A City Hall inspector checking a sealed outlet behind the Likas house.

The spokeswoman said its Environmental Unit had been dealing with the recurring nuisance created by the stench of stale oil coming from the direction of a backyard drain in Taman Likas Jaya for the past year and a half.

“This problem was triggered by the soiled water entering the drain from a house in Lorong Burung Kenari 2.

“Our inspectors repeatedly spoke to the rate-payer about sealing the outlet from his/ her house and having the pipes from his/ her kitchen sink connected to the manhole.”

She said several notices were also given to the individual, instructing him/ her to stop releasing the discharge from his kitchen into the drain.

Two meetings were also held at City Hall offices about the smell nuisance over the interim period, during which the homeowner or his/ her family were present, according to her.

“The rate-payer agreed to make the necessary structural modifications after the second meeting and was given a grace-period in which to do this.”

She said the agency sent him/ her a reminder in August to expedite this work.

“On Wednesday, EHD personnel found that the homeowner had finally fulfilled our requirements.

“Our inspector went into the common drain behind the house to double-check that the outlet had been sealed. 

“No foul smell was detected coming from the water inside and he did not find any traces of oil or bits of food floating on these fluids,” the spokeswoman said on September 22.

A City Hall inspector checking a drain.

This action was prompted by feedback about the stench which had been permeating some of the residences along the same housing road.

One homeowner wrote to City Hall about this nuisance in March 2021.

She contacted Hotline in July, saying that the problem had not been resolved after all this time. 

A spokesman for the agency’s Landscaping Department said its workers had attended to her backyard drain umpteenth times over the past 17 months.

“They de-silted the structure even before the scheduled cleaning. This was most recently done on September 3,” he said.

“On top of this, the government concessionaire was alerted, on and off, that the front-yard drain needed some attention.”

He said, at the beginning of the month, the firm’s workers hosed down the structure along Lorong Burung Kenari 2.

BARBIE of Likas said she had observed the presence of grease inside the drain at the back of her house. 

She was under the impression that the structure might be clogged with congealed bits of this substance as the water inside had a tendency to stagnate.

“The stench of stale oil and stagnant water often wafts over from the drain,” she said.

“I have to keep most of my doors and windows closed to minimise the possibility of the unsettling odour getting in.”

Despite these efforts, she said she still got a whiff of the bad smell, especially at night, which made it difficult for her to get a restful sleep.

Barbie said she first encountered this nuisance more than a year ago and had brought it to City Hall’s attention on several occasions since then.

She said, at one stage, she saw some workers clearing the outside her back compound.

“They removed the mud and weeds but couldn’t do anything about the layer of oil on the surface of the water.

“I was made to understand that the greasy discharge was coming from elsewhere in the neighbourhood.”

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