Government agencies raid illegal dumpsite in Jalan Batu Arang, Rawang

AN OPERATION against illegal dumping in Jalan Batu Arang, Rawang has turned up an alarming find of empty chemical barrels.

The 15 barrels were buried on an empty plot of land.

The operation yesterday, involving Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) and several other government organisations, followed complaints by residents nearby that lorries were seen entering and leaving the site during the day. They also said there was an odour in the air that they could not identify.

The Fire and Rescue Department’s Hazardous Materials division and Environment Department (DOE) personnel found that the barrels used to contain acetylene, a compound commonly used as welding fuel.

The discovery was made after the team noticed the ground here stained red, white and blue.

They said no one was at the site when they arrived but MPS Enforcement Department officer Paramsivam Chelliah said workers were seen there before the operation was conducted.

MPS personnel used an excavator to dig up parts of the land to see if the chemicals had leached into the soil and polluted the nearby Sungai Gong.

Certain parts of the area were found to have oxygen levels of 20.3%, slightly below the normal 21%.

“The pH levels in certain parts was between six (slightly acidic) and seven (neutral), but on the whole, the surface area is neutral,” said Hulu Selangor Fire and Rescue Department chief Mohd Haikal Md Kasni.

“We also checked the drainage system in the area but there were no traces of the chemical in the water,” he added.

DOE personnel have taken soil samples for further tests.

MPS president Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain said the landowner would be issued compounds for various offences, such as allowing it to become a breeding ground for Aedes mosquitoes and an illegal dump.

“The land is for agricultural use and although rented out, he will be held responsible,” said Mohd Azizi.

He said the heavy machinery used would be seized and the site sealed off immediately.

He added that the illegal dumping had been going on for about two years.

The Gombak District Land Office will be issuing a 7A notice to the owner, under Section 128 of the National Land Code, to restore the land to its prior condition, with failure to comply resulting in the land being seized.

Coincindentally, the site measuring 1ha is located less than a kilometre upstream from the illegal factory that had flushed diesel into Sungai Gong, causing pollution and which led to Selangor’s water crisis in August.

“We will monitor the factories along rivers under our jurisdiction to prevent such incidents from recurring,”said Mohd Azizi.

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