GEORGE TOWN, Sept 9 — The Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) has raised concerns that the proposed Kulim International Airport (KXP) and its aerotropolis project could release large volumes of wastewater into Sungai Muda, threatening raw water supply to consumers in Penang and Kedah.
PBAPP chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa said the sewerage planning report for the proposed KXP and its aerotropolis project states that an estimated 40 million litres per day (MLD) of wastewater will be released into the river between 2021 and 2025.
He said the report further revealed that the estimated wastewater released into the river will increase progressively throughout the years from 40 MLD to 100 MLD by 2036.
Jaseni said Sungai Muda is a raw water resource for Penang and South Kedah, from which PBAPP sources over 80 per cent of the raw water needed daily to produce treated water from Sungai Muda.
“If Sungai Muda is polluted or contaminated, water supply services for 1.78 million Penangites will be disrupted and a water supply crisis in Penang will cause huge losses to all the businesses that contributed RM94.7 billion to the national GDP in 2019,” he said in a statement today.
He also said that the nearest point of the KXP project will be just six kilometres away from PBAPP’s Lahar Tiang intake in Seberang Perai.
He said any environmental impact from the project would affect PBAPP’s raw water abstraction operations immediately.
“Due to proximity, there is almost no wiggle room to implement any meaningful emergency mitigation actions to avoid a state-wide water crisis in Penang if something goes awry at the KXP site,” he said.
He said water extracted from Sungai Dua is treated using conventional water treatment technology at the Sungai Dua Water Treatment Plant (WTP).
However, he stressed that this conventional water treatment technology is not potent enough to treat raw water that is infused with large volumes of wastewater or river water which contains high levels of chemical or microbiological loads that are toxic or hazardous.
He said this is why a new airport project cannot be located in close proximity to an important raw water resource such a Sungai Muda as the continuous discharge of high volumes of wastewater into the river will compromise its role as a viable water resource.