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Tankers sending water to Sipitang Hospital, health clinics, schools
Published on: Tuesday, October 24, 2023
By: Sidney Skinner
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Tankers sending water to Sipitang Hospital, health clinics, schools
A Department staff indicates the damaged section of the water main along Jalan Kg Pantai.
TANKERS are sending treated water to the Sipitang Hospital, as well as the Maternal and Child Health Clinic and government schools in the district, while the Water Department works to restore the supply around the town.

Some 5,000 consumers based in Sipitang have been without tap water since late Sunday after third-party contractors damaged two different sections of the distribution-line servicing the town.

A Department spokesman said the individuals, who were involved with construction of the Pan Borneo Highway, inadvertently dug into part of the distribution line along Jalan Kg Pantai and near Sungai Boular around noon on Oct 22.

A geyser of water shooting into the sky was visible near the junction to the Sipitang village on Sunday.

“We received multiple calls on Sunday about a ‘geyser’ which could be seen for meters around the junction to the village,” he said.

“A preliminary check revealed that a 600-millimetre ‘mid-steel-cement-lined (MSCL)’ pipe was leaking in several places.

“On top of the water shooting high into the sky, the supply was seen gushing down the slope, in places, and onto the road shoulder.”

He said the leaks had a substantial impact on the water situation in Sipitang as the damaged pipe was a “main trunk” for the town.

In the case of Sungai Boular, the burst involved a 150mm “unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (UPVC)” pipe, according to him.

“Emergency work on these pipes began at around 1pm on Sunday, with the two contractors undertaking the respective repairs.

“Water production at our Ulau and Mesapol Treatment Plants had to be temporarily halted to accommodate this remedial action.”

Under normal circumstances, the former has an output of between 15-16 million litres daily (MLD), while the latter generates between five to six MLD. The spokesman said notices advising the public to store water – and use these reserves sparingly – were sent out over social media on Sunday, about half an hour before the contractors were due to attend to the respective pipes.

The agency’s personnel has a closer look at the welding work being carried out on the leaking MSCL pipe.

He said the agency had been delivering a supply to select premises around the town since Monday to offer consumers some respite.

“Our Sipitang office managed to borrow a tanker with a 10,000 litres capacity from its counterpart in Beaufort for this purpose.

The Department also managed to rope in the Sipitang District Council to assist in this relief effort, according to him.

“The repairs involving the UPVC pipe were completed on Sunday night, while the tears in the MSCL one were only properly welded shut about 1pm yesterday.”

“Our technicians spent the rest of Monday releasing the airlocks which had formed in the different distribution mains around the district.

“Activities at our Treatment Plants resumed, in the meantime, with the affected consumers regaining their tap water in stages once sufficient pressure had built up in the pipes leading to their premises.”

Among those who felt the pinch because of work on the MSCL pipe were consumers living and working in Sipitang town and Sindumin, as well as along Jalan Luagan, Jalan Samur, Jalan Batat and Jalan Naparan Ulu Sipitang.

The rural folks affected by the repairs included those in Kg Lubang Buaya, Kg Parusiku, Kg Kaban, Kg Bangsal, Kg Tanjung Nipis, Kg Pantai, Kg Kawang Tali Air, Kg Ranau-Ranau, Kg Bahagia, Kg Seri Menanti, Kg Batu 7, Kg Padang Berampah, Kg Batu 1, Kg Batu 2, Kg Tanjung Pagar and Kg Ulu Sipitang.

Occupants of the Petronas housing area also experienced problems with their supply. Where the UPVC pipe was concerned, he said the premises affected by the repairs were those along Jalan Labuk Darat, as well as in Kg Naluyan, Kg Sungai Boular, Kg Mesapol Lama and Kg Lalang. The spokesman anticipated that it might take between two to three days for some consumers to recover properly from this disruption.

He said this was especially so if their homes or offices were located on higher ground or towards the end of the Department’s distribution-line.

“We will be keeping tabs on the water situation around Sipitang to ensure that each of these premises regains their supply.”

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