05 August 2016

What water quality issues happening now in the West Johor Strait?

Yesterday, there was an MPA Notice that silt curtains will be installed at the Tuas Spring Desalination Plant.  Why would a silt curtain be needed now?
Tuas Spring Desalination Plant facing the sea.
Photo from the PUB Annual Report 2013
Is there an ongoing algae bloom in the West Johor Strait? When this action was taken in Mar 2015, PUB explained that "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."

Or is this in response to the massive oil spill reported last week in the area?


PORT MARINE NOTICE NO. 84 OF 2016 dated 4 Aug 2016

INSTALLATION OF SILT CURTAINS OFF TUAS SPRING DESALINATION PLANT AT TUAS VIEW

Date : With effect from 06 Aug 2016 to 05 Feb 2017.
Location : Off Tuas Spring Desalination Plant at Tuas View, within the working area bounded by the following co-ordinates (see attached chartlet):
The installation of silt curtains will be carried out by a crane barge. A tug will be deployed to assist the positioning of the crane barge during the installation work.

A safety boat will be deployed in the vicinity to warn other craft about the work. Further enquires relating to the project can be directed to Mr Lu Maw, Project Engineer at Tel: 8671-6788 (email: lumaw@hsl.com.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

Is there an algae bloom happening now in the West Johor Strait?

In Mar 2015, it was reported that 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. Silt curtains, which drop to the seabed, can help keep out silt particles or other materials.

Or is this in response to water quality issues following a massive oil spill nearby last week?

It was reported that on 26 Jul 2016, about one ton of heavy fuel oil was spilled, affecting an area of about 20 nautical miles (37km). It happened just off southern Singapore in Malaysian waters. A report said "the vessel was boomed following the incident. The oil leak was stemmed quickly."
Click on image for larger view.
The pin is the last known location the Berge Bureya.
It is reportedly now anchored off Tanjung Piai, Malaysia.
The spill came from a very large ore carrier that was originally an oil tanker and had in 1994, spilled 16,000 tonnes of crude oil in the Gulf of Oman.

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