1) Is our sanitary system able to keep us safe from infectious diseases like COVID-19? During SARS, it was suspected that the sanitary system of Amoy Garden in Hong Kong was responsible for the spread of the SARS virus.
The infection at some premises of Amoy Garden in Hong Kong was attributed to dried-out water seal in their floor sanitary outlets which resulted in foul air contaminated with SARS virus entering the premises.
Singapore's sanitary system is designed to ensure that pipes are airtight and watertight and the water seal in our floor traps are replenished regularly with water from the sinks/washbasin or shower. This ensures that foul gases from the sewers do not enter our premises.
2) Is it possible for contaminated used water in the sewerage system to be exposed to the environment and cause the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19?
The public sewerage system is a closed system that conveys used water by gravity without any pressure. The sewers are buried underground, and the manholes to access the sewers are always covered.
Any work that involves opening these manholes requires PUB’s approval, and workers have to wear personal protective equipment to protect themselves from direct exposure to used water. The work area will also be barricaded to keep the public at a safe distance. Thus, there is no risk of the public being exposed to used water in the sewerage system.
3) Is NEWater safe since it is produced from used water? How does PUB ensure all harmful bacteria/viruses, including COVID-19 virus, is removed from our water?
Yes. Used water collected goes through a rigorous process to become NEWater. The NEWater is produced using advanced membrane technologies and undergoes a rigorous 3-step treatment process involving microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet disinfection. This process comprehensively removes all contaminants and ensure all bacteria and viruses are killed.
The end product - NEWater is ultra-clean, high-grade recycled water that is primarily supplied to non-domestic sectors for industrial and air-con cooling purposes, and not directly to households for consumption.
Last updated on 21 July 2021