13 March 2015

Seawater quality and desalination plants in Singapore

The quality of seawater can affect our drinking water. Not just plankton blooms that cause mass fish deaths.
Tuas Spring Desalination Plant facing the sea.
Photo from the PUB Annual Report 2013
Yesterday, there was an MPA Notice that silt curtains will be installed at the Tuas Spring Desalination Plant and sea water intake nearby. Why would a silt curtain be needed now?



Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Port Marine Notice NO. 25 OF 2015 dated 12 Mar 2015

Installation of silt curtains at Tuas Spring Desalination Plant and sea water intake at Tuas View

Applicable to: Mariners operating in the Johor Strait off Tuas View.

Date : With effect from 13 Mar 2015 to 20 Apr 2015.

Location : At Tuas Spring Desalination Plant and Sea Water Intake, within the working area bounded by the following co-ordinates (see attached chartlet):
(WGS 84 Datum)
Point Latitude (N) Longitude (E)
1 01˚ 18.313' 103˚ 37.307'
2 01˚ 18.332' 103˚ 37.256'
3 01˚ 18.368' 103˚ 37.270'
4 01˚ 18.349' 103˚ 37.320'
(WGS 84 Datum)
Point Latitude (N) Longitude (E)
1 01˚ 18.210' 103˚ 37.245'
2 01˚ 18.216' 103˚ 37.232'
3 01˚ 18.233' 103˚ 37.239'
4 01˚ 18.228' 103˚ 37.251'
click on image for larger view
Working Hours : 24 hours daily including Sundays and Public Holidays.

Details: The work will involve the installation of silt curtains. A crane barge assisted by tug boat will be used to install the slit curtains. Further enquires relating to the project can be directed to Mr Vijay Das, at Tel: 6517-2203 (email: Vijay_DAS@pub.gov.sg).

Why would a silt curtain be needed now?

Here's the locations of the work areas from the coordinates on the MPA Notice.
click on image for larger view
Could it be due to ongoing reclamation in the Johor Strait?
Diagram from Malaysia gives nod for Princess Cove
reclamation project in Johor Strait to resume

MARISSA LEE Straits Times 15 Jan 15;
The latest reports on reclamation in the Johor Strait on wildsingapore news.

See also:
PUB moves to protect desalination plants from algae in seawater by SIAU MING EN Today Online 23 Mar 15;

In response to queries, PUB said it was installing the silt curtains at the intake points of Singapore’s two desalination plants, as it had noticed a slight increase in levels of algae in the seawater around that area. “They act as an additional barrier to protect the reverse osmosis membranes from fouling,” said the PUB spokesperson.

The spokesperson added that the agency would continue to monitor the situation and, if necessary, the silt curtains will stay on beyond April 20.

Silt curtains, which drop to the seabed, can help keep out silt particles or other materials.

Director of Nanyang Technological University’s Maritime Research Centre Tan Soon Keat said uring dry weather, he noted, the surrounding lands around desalination plants would be drier, leading to more land-based washoff with sudden rain. He added that there may be elevated levels of phosphorus and nitrate in the runoff. Installing silt curtains is good practice, as it can buy time for the desalination plant to respond.

From MPA Port Marine Notice NO. 78 OF 2015 dated 24 Jul 2015
Installation of Silt Curtains at Tuas Spring Desalination Plant and Sea Water Intake at Tuas View

This is a revision of Port Marine Notice No. 25 of 2015. The working period has been extended.

Date : With effect from 25 Jul 2015 to 24 Jan 2016.

Location : At Tuas Spring Desalination Plant and Sea Water Intake, within the working
area bounded by the following co-ordinates (see attached chartlet):
24 hours daily including Sundays and Public Holidays. The work will involve the installation of silt curtains. A crane barge assisted by tug boat will be used to install the slit curtains. Further enquires relating to the project can be directed to Ms Elaine Quek, at Tel: 9047-9657 (email: Elaine_QUEK@pub.gov.sg).

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