Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Singapore hit by massive flooding in several areas yesterday (10 Apr 2012)

Singapore hit by massive flooding in several areas yesterday

Posted by temasektimes on April 11, 2012

Singapore was hit by several flash floods in several parts of the island yesterday after a heavy downpour in the afternoon which led to traffic jams in some areas.

According to PUB’s facebook page, affected roads included parts of Upper Paya Lebar, Lorong Ah Soo and the Junction of Mt Vernon Road/Bartley Road and several areas in Tampines.

The entrance to Sengkang along the Tampines Expressway (TPE) was reportedly flooded causing a jam along the highway. Parts of the Punggol West flyover were also submerged in the flood water.

One Tampines resident Lim Jo Ket told the state media that his shop was affected by the flood water which reached around ankle height.

“Every day heavy rain, our shop will be flooded because the drain is very small. Last month and today, our flood is quite heavy, so our stocks are all damaged, so we don’t know what to do.”

Lorong Ah Soo was also flooded as well with one commuter reporting the flood as high as half a van tire

He said the situation has been particularly bad in the past few days. .

Joosoon sent in this photo of flooding which occurred at Lorong Ah Soo at 4.30pm. According to the STOMPer, the flood was as high as half a van tire.

The STOMPer wrote:

“This picture was taken this afternoon at 4.30pm at Lorong Ah Soo. My father was fetching me home from school when we spotted this flood occurring in the whole of Lorong Ah Soo. The height of the flood was about half a van tire. People were even standing on the seats at a bus stop. The flood occurred from Xin Hua Primary School to Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School.”

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Choked drains: PUB replies

Reply from PUB, 5th April 2012:

Dear Mr Jeff Ho

Thank you for your feedback.

2 We agree with your observations about the cleanliness of our drainage system. We recognise the challenges in keeping all our drains clean at all times and we are constantly trying our best to do it better. PUB has adopted the performance-based contracting approach for the cleansing maintenance of drains. Under this approach, which is a partnership approach, the contractors are required to cleanse the drains regularly to ensure that they are in good condition.

3 PUB officers carry out regular checks on the performance of our contractors and review the frequency of cleansing based on checks and public feedback. However, PUB officers are not able to be everywhere all the time to constantly check on all our 7,000 km of drains and the many thousands of drop inlet chambers (DICs) which can be choked up by fallen leaves. One of our approaches is also to engage the public to help us in giving feedback to us on specific areas where the drains are not well maintained or DICs are choked. Such feedback will definitely help us to improve our drain cleanliness.

4 On a separate approach, PUB is also trying to improve the design of drainage inlets along roads which allows leaves to be cleared easier by mechanical road sweepers and use of mechanical suction in our regular maintenance of drainage inlets. We will continue to work towards a more effective way of checking and cleaning such inlets, and also to improve the design.

5. PUB is also working very closely with the Department of Public Cleanliness (DPC) from NEA to improve the drain cleanliness . The DPC will ensure public areas are well-cleaned, and progressively integrate existing contracts by various agencies to achieve higher operational efficiency. The integration of cleansing functions for the public areas will be carried out in phases from 1 Apr 2012 onwards.

6. Thank you once again for your feedback and rest be assured that we will continue to do our best to improve our drainage maintenance work and keep our drains clean. Should you spot any further incidences of unclean drains, please do contact our hotline PUB-One (1800-2846600) or DPC hotline (1800-600-3333 or email

Choked drains: PUB throwing money down the drain

30 Mar 2012

To: Dr Vivian Balakrishnan

cc: Dr Yaacob Ibrahim

Seven years ago in 2005, I started a blog,, to help NEA (then under Dr Yaacob as MEWR Minister) in identifying mosquito-breeding sites so that swift action can be taken to eradicate dengue which was

becoming pandemic then (see Straits Times article attached below, "Man starts blog to track mosquito sites", ST, Aug 17 2005).

Some of the main culprits that contributed to these breeding sites were choked drains as numerous spots were identified and photographed and then uploaded onto the blog.

It has been 7 years but the problem of choked drains remains. But instead of dengue, we now have floods!

In 2005, there was another problem: some of these choked drains/breeding spots were under the purview of NEA, some PUB, yet others under LTA, ... and Town Councils, etc... hence, the classical "Everybody thought that Somebody was attending to the problem but Nobody ended up doing it".

I fuly agree with another blogger, Phillip Ang ("PUB: Throwing money down the drain", theonlinecitizen, Mar 30, 2012- attached):

No amount of money (or Engineering?) will solve the flooding problem here in Singapore if the drains are not properly maintained and remain choked!




PUB: Throwing money down the drain

Posted by theonlinecitizen on March 30, 2012 3 Comments

~ By Phillip Ang ~

I understand PUB's predicament as a result of inclement weather but totally disagree with the planned usage of $750 million for upgrading. After having submitted numerous feedback reports on the state of our drainage system, there has been no assurance as to my emphasis on the need for proper maintenance, and the PUB has yet to take the necessary steps to ensure drainage inlets are free from blockage.

I am a keen observer and travel to different parts of Singapore, and my recent observations seem to suggest that the replies from PUB has not been followed with concrete action.

Along Dunearn Road and other places, many drainage inlets were observed to be choked with so much hardened sand that there is no more room for leaves to pass through.

Meanwhile, closer to my home, it is not uncommon to see such 'green' gratings.

And along East Coast Road, there is more of the same.

All these examples and thousands more like them resulted from months and years of neglect. The causes could be insufficient budget allocated to get things properly done, foreign workers who have been overworked by money-minded contractors and civil servants who are not in touch with the reality on the ground.

The government must conduct its own checks through an independent third party as it has been status quo with PUB for too long. With some 30,000 grassroots leaders vounteering their time for various initiatives, this could be executed without much complexity. Students on vacation are another alternative and their contribution and effort could be recognised through Community Involvement Programme (CIP) points. Motorists caught in jams could take note through casual observation and filter the feedback back to the authority, as could pedestrians.

It is prudent to note that existing drainage inlets complement new ones being installed, and installing swanky new drains without maintenance of the existing drainage network, is simply throwing the money down the proverbial drain. For the entire system to function smoothly, blockage has to be eliminated or minimised first. Unfortunately, PUB has been unable to ensure this even after much feedback.


Man starts blog to track mosquito sites

He e-mails NEA with photos of any potential breeding ground he spots

By Lee Hui Chieh
Aug 17, 2005
The Straits Times

CONCERNED by the rise in the number of dengue cases here, a man has begun a weblog posting pictures of clogged drains in an effort to tell the authorities where to take action.

Mr Jeffrey Ho, 51, a director of a financial services company, started about three weeks ago.

He said: 'I don't know if enough is being done. The National Environment Agency has a responsibility, but so do all of us - for our own homes and outside. The NEA can't be expected to be everywhere all the time.'

Fighting the mosquito menace has been almost an obsession for the father of two since his Newton condominium was plagued by the insects for a few months about two years ago.

One night during that period, his eight-year-old daughter ended up with more than 10 bites on her arms and legs.

Since then, Mr Ho has called NEA officials regularly to report problematic sites. He was inspired to set up his blog after reading about the success of similar efforts in raising awareness on other issues.

Now, whenever he sees a drain choked with litter or leaves, he whips out his mobile phone, snaps a picture of it and makes a note of its location. He then updates his blog and sends an e-mail with the picture and location of the drain to the NEA.

So far, officials have been prompt in replying to his feedback, clearing the drains and reporting investigation results, which he then posts on his blog.

Yesterday, the NEA said it welcomed proactive efforts by the public to fight dengue and urged people to contact it directly to report not just drains, but any suspected mosquito breeding ground.

Of the 2,800 calls it receives every week, about 430 concern mosquito problems.

The NEA cautioned against placing too much emphasis on drains rather than homes. Its investigations show that 75 per cent of mosquitoes found breeding in drains belong to the Culex species, while just 25 per cent are the dengue-carrying Aedes variety.

Of areas found breeding Aedes mosquitoes, drains make up just 6 per cent.

By comparison, homes make up 55 per cent of Aedes breeding sites, with most of the mosquitoes found breeding indoors in bamboo pole holders, flowerpots and pails.

Most of the remaining breeding areas are in other HDB common properties maintained by town councils, such as rooftops and bin centres.

The NEA is especially concerned with home breeding, said the head of operations of its environmental health department Dalson Chung, because the more dangerous sub-species of the Aedes mosquito is usually bred indoors.

This sub-species has more potential to spread infection, as it bites multiple times during a feeding session, while the outdoor-bred sub-species usually bites just once.

Still, Mr Ho said: 'Even Culex mosquitoes can be a nuisance. If my blog makes lives better for people, then it's good enough.'

NEA site checks up 10 per cent

THE National Environment Agency has increased its mosquito breeding ground checks by 10 per cent this year, and hired 160 pest control workers to help its own force of 140 officers further intensify such checks.

A total of 6,774 cases of dengue fever were reported in the first seven months of this year, more than double the 3,219 cases in the same period last year.

The numbers continue to climb, due to hotter weather and a switch last year in the dominant strain of dengue virus.

There are four main strains of dengue virus, all of which will become dominant at some point in time. Patients infected by one strain develop an immunity to it after they recover, but are still vulnerable to the other strains.

Every one to three years, for unknown reasons, another strain becomes dominant, and many succumb to it.

The switch in dominant strain led to an unusually large number of cases in the usually quiet months of January and February, when 2,207 dengue fever cases were reported, compared to 624 last year.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

PUB? - Straits Times (12 June 2007) - Drain (outside NUS Law along Bt Timah Rd) still choked despite calling NEA, PUB

Straits Times (12 June 2007) - Ltr: Drain still choked despite calling NEA, PUB

June 12, 2007

Drain still choked despite calling NEA, PUB

DENGUE cases have been on the rise in the past few weeks and the National Environment Agency (NEA) has been sending pamphlets to households, reminding residents to do their part in preventing mosquito breeding.

However, I have noticed a rather-alarming scene along Bukit Timah Road, where a roadside drain outside the NUS Law Faculty has been choked with weeds for the past few months, resulting in water stagnating in the drain.

I called the NEA hotline and was told that PUB Waterworks, which was responsible for maintaining the drain, would be notified. I made the call in the beginning of May, but nothing was done after a few weeks.

When I called the NEA hotline again, I was told that PUB Waterworks had been informed, and was given its telephone number so that I could remind it personally.

Upon calling the PUB, an officer told me that he would inspect the drain that day.

However, a few weeks have passed, the weeds have not been cleared and the drain is still choked.If residents have been told to do their part against mosquito breeding, shouldn't government agencies, which are responsible for taking care of public areas, set an example by doing their part as well?

Cheong Sooi Peng (Mdm)

Friday, June 8, 2007

PUB/Boon Lay Drive - TNP (6June07) - 100m of drain found clogged in dengue hotspot. PUB slaps maintenance contractor with demerit points

  • "Name And Shame" culprits breeding mosquitoes?

  • To: NEA
    cc: REACH

    7 June 2007

    I believe Ms Kaur has been highlighting this stretch of drain since months
    ago but the situation does not seem to have improved, despite the heightened
    dengue risk in recent months.

    Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 08:00:04 -0800 (PST)
    From: Swarni Kaur <>Subject: drains near parc vista and boon lay driveTo: YAP_KHENG_GUAN@PUB.GOV.SG,,,,,
    see photo of choked drains outside parc vista condo and boon lay drive.
    these photo are taken on 7th Jan.

    100m of drain found clogged in dengue hotspot. PUB slaps maintenance contractor with demerit points
    DENGUE cases are on the rise, and we have to stop the mozzies from breeding.
    By Teh Jen Lee
    06 June 2007
    DENGUE cases are on the rise, and we have to stop the mozzies from breeding.
    But last week, the drains along Boon Lay Drive were clogged and full of stagnant water.
    When The New Paper went down to investigate, we found at least 100 metres of the drain along one side of the road blocked with sand, leaves and trash. There was some clogging of the drain on the other side too.
    No mosquito larva could be seen, though the water was murky.
    It was obvious from the stagnant water and rotting waste that the drains had not been cleared for a long time.
    Local residents were jittery. Especially as there is an active dengue cluster in the area, with cases reported in five blocks along Boon Lay Drive.
    Pointing at the clogged drain, housewife Lim Lay Hwa, 43, said in Mandarin: 'It's definitely possible for mosquitoes to breed in the water. I've heard of seven cases of dengue in this neighbourhood.'
    She was worried about her three children aged 2 to 9, getting dengue.
    She noted that the drains used to be better kept. 'Maybe it's because some blocks of flats around here have become empty recently when people moved out,' she said.
    Said Madam Rosnah Mahad, 42, a housewife cycling past the clogged drains: 'Of course I am concerned. The authorities should clean it up.'
    Another resident, who gave his name only as John, said: 'It seems like this area has been neglected. My mother almost died from dengue 10 years ago. I know how scary it can be. I really hope something is done.'
    He said the area is home to many foreign students and workers, and more should be done to educate them on the dangers of the disease.
    Ministry of Health figures have shown that roughly 30 per cent of dengue cases here involve foreigners.
    The National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Public Utilities Board (PUB) are jointly responsible for ensuring that drains do not become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
    In reply to our queries, Mr Tan Nguan Sen, PUB's director for catchment and waterways, said its contractors are engaged under a performance-based contract to maintain the drains.
    This rewards good performance and penalises shoddy work.
    'Under this system, the contractors will have to clean as often as it is needed to keep the drains clean and litter-free, and they will be paid more if more cleaning is needed. However, if they fail to keep the drains clean, they will be penalised,' he said.
    'The contractor in charge of Boon Lay Drive and Boon Lay Avenue failed to meet the standards and has been given demerit points, which will affect future performance evaluations.'
    He added that the clogged drains have since been cleared.
    'PUB welcomes all public feedback. All feedback received will help to strengthen our system, especially as Singapore has more than 7,000 km of drains and canals. The public can contact us at our 24-hour call centre PUB-One at 1800-2846600,' Mr Tan said.
    A spokesman for NEA said it will apply granular insecticide to prevent mosquito-breeding whenever it comes across water stagnation in drains.
    As for educating foreign workers on dengue, NEA has developed and distributed anti-dengue materials in English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil, Bengali, Burmese, Thai, Tagalog and Sinhalese.
    The number of dengue cases reported between 20 and 26 May is 259.
    Weekly figures are released every Tuesday. The number of cases for the week of 27 May to 2 Jun will be released at noon today.

    Wednesday, June 6, 2007

    Jalan Besar Town Council & PUB? - Fwd: Clogged drains. Good breeding spots? (Sims Drive/Sims Place)

    Reply from NEA:

    Subject: Clogged drains. Good breeding spots?
    CC: Nordin SULAIMAN , PUB One ,Damian LEE ,
    From: Zulkarnain HASSAN BAKTEE
    Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2007 10:58:56 +0800
    I refer to your email feedback as appended below
    In our recent check on 6 Jun 07 although no mosquito breeding was detected in the drain , potential habitats such as discarded containers found in the vicinity were removed immediately. We had also alerted to PUB to spruce up the road side drains and the Town Council to cleanse the HDB drains.We are continuing our close surveillance of the estate
    We will continue to work with all parties concerned to ensure a safe and clean environment and monitor the site closely.
    Please contact our Manager of the area Mr Nordin Sulaiman at Tel 68546443 should you need further assistance.
    Thank you for your feedback.
    Sincere regards
    Zulkarnain H Baktee
    Customer Relations, Surveillance & Intelligence
    Central Regional Office
    National Environment Agency
    DID +65 68546408
    Fax +65 62739641
    Date: Sun, 27 May 2007 22:21:21 -0700 (PDT)
    From: Moonbeam <>
    Subject: Clogged drains. Good breeding spots?
    Attached are fotos taken of the drain in front of Blk 52 Sims Place last Thurs (24 May 07).
    Sims Drive/Sims Place has been a dengue cluster for quite a number of weeks and the areas have been expanding. There's a lot of mosquitoes in the area, and from the condition of the drains there, it seems as though the drains are the cause of the presence of mosquitoes.Weird that no one has cleaned up the drains yet.
    posted by Dengue Alert In Singapore @ 2:30 PM 0 comments

    HDB & Town Councils - ST (6 June 2007) - Ltr: New methods and strategy needed to curb mosquitoes

    HDB & Town Councils - ST (6 June 2007) - Ltr: New methods and strategy needed to curb mosquitoes

    June 6, 2007

    New methods and strategy needed to curb mosquitoesTHE National Environment Agency should concentrate not only on households in its drive against mosquito breeding but also on other areas, such as drains in HDB estates and manholes along roads.Most of the drains in HDB estates and manholes have stagnant water for long periods. They are not flushed or fogged regularly.Unless the authorities carry out regular maintenance, these are real problems. Unlike private estates where fogging is done once a week, there are no such measures in HDB estates.

    Lim Keng Hian

    THE article, 'Dengue situation worrying, says head of CDC' (ST, June 2), is indeed worrying.In an US experiment, it was found that less than 4 per cent of mosquitoes were killed with fogging. The most effective method is to eliminate them when they are in the larva stage in stagnant water as once they are able to fly, it is very difficult to kill them.The uptrend in dengue cases is a cause for concern. Perhaps the National Environment Agency should look at non-traditional methods, and breeding places such as coconut trees planted in HDB areas.

    Danny Chua Hock Chye

    posted by Dengue Alert In Singapore @ 2:22 PM 0 comments