Firm charged over alleged unauthorised works that led to Pasir Ris flood in August

SINGAPORE – Construction firm Samwoh Corporation was charged in a district court on Tuesday (Nov 9) over alleged unauthorised works that led to a flood in Pasir Ris on Aug 20.

A drain, which was purportedly altered by the firm, is said to be one of the causes for knee-high water to inundate a 200m section of the traffic junction of Tampines Avenue 10 and Pasir Ris Drive 12.

The drain is located along Tampines Avenue 10, between Tampines Industrial Avenue 5 and Tampines Link.

Thirteen vehicles were partially submerged and several motorists required help to evacuate their vehicles. At least one person was taken to hospital.

The incident also caused a traffic congestion that lasted two hours.

The affected junction is not flood-prone, national water agency PUB had said after the incident.

But the flood on Aug 20 persisted for almost two hours while most flash floods in Singapore would subside within about 30 minutes.

Samwoh Corporation had allegedly removed an existing drain that was 1.8m wide and 4m deep and replaced it with a newly constructed drain of the same width but shallower at 3m deep.

It is also accused of causing obstruction to the flow of the storm water drainage system by erecting scaffolds to construct a new drain.

The firm allegedly continued to place the scaffolds in the drain when its construction was completed, the court heard.

The maximum fine for each offence is $20,000.

According to court documents, Samwoh Corporation had also carried out works “which affect or are likely to affect” the storm water drainage system “directly or indirectly” by constructing two drain openings to channel water from a new drain to an existing one.

A drain, which was purportedly altered by Samwoh Corporation, caused a flood at the traffic junction of Tampines Avenue 10 and Pasir Ris Drive 12. PHOTOS: BERITA HARIAN

One drain opening is said to be undersized while the other was purportedly under construction.

If convicted of this offence, Samwoh Corporation can be fined up to $50,000.

The case has been adjourned to Nov 30.

In its earlier statement, PUB said that the drainage system in the area was “more than adequate to cope with the rainfall intensity” that day.

Water from the area is channelled to Sungei Api Api, a canal about 1km from the flooded junction, and sensors showed that it was only about 50 per cent full on Aug 20.

The amount of rain then was also comparable to recent rain events on April 5 this year and Nov 22 last year.

No flooding was observed on those dates.