Maintenance – “the act of keeping property or equipment in good condition by making repairs, correcting problems and so on” (Merriam-Webster). Take car maintenance, for example, it’s crucial to frequent schedule maintenance to ensure our car is always in good condition to avoid unexpected breakdowns kan?
The same goes for all of Air Selangor’s water assets! As the sole water services provider in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, they are responsible to abstract, treat and distribute clean and safe water supply to 8.4 million consumers.
All 34 water treatment plants operate 24 hours every day to:
- Produce an average of 5,000 million litres per day (MLD) of treated water
- Distribute it through over 29,000 km pipe lengths
- Manage over 1,610 service reservoirs, 732 pump houses and 1,117 water sampling stations.
That’s A LOT of big numbers!
As Malaysia’s largest water operator, it is Air Selangor’s duty to perform frequent scheduled maintenance work, especially when some assets – like the pipelines – are more than 20 to 30 years old. They currently have a total of 87,815 assets, while the estimated number of assets is expected to increase to 104,624 by 2023.
Why does scheduled maintenance work need to be implemented accordingly?
Air Selangor (AS): Every asset has its life estimate and must be serviced before it reaches breaking point to avoid any unsuspected damage, with all of Air Selangor’s assets having to undergo the Preventive Maintenance and Corrective Maintenance programme.
With the implementation of the Work and Asset Management System, maintenance works can be scheduled efficiently and performed to avoid sudden incidents that may cause unscheduled water disruptions and affect consumers.
What happens if maintenance work is not implemented?
AS: If we do not conduct maintenance as scheduled, it will be highly likely to cause unscheduled water disruption, due to unsuspecting breakdown of the pump house equipment, water treatment plant assets, or pipe burst that will consequently affect the consumers. Thus, implementing scheduled maintenance can reduce the probability of this happening.
When maintenance work is implemented, consumers will usually face a period of scheduled water disruption. What is the process involved during the disruption?
AS: Each year, Air Selangor implements the scheduled maintenance works on our water supply assets based on their life span. However, before any big scale scheduled maintenance works is implemented, water operators must present a comprehensive plan to Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Air Negara (SPAN).
Once approved, water operators must inform the consumers seven days before the start of the work, including publishing the water disruption and water supply recovery plan for affected areas, allowing affected consumers to store sufficient water supply. Water operators must also provide timely updates on the engineering works.
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During any scheduled water disruptions, relevant assets will be maintained within the stipulated time. For example, when maintenance work at a water treatment plant is completed, it will take up to six hours to stabilise each part of the water treatment process. This is to ensure that the reservoir balance is filled up to the 4-metre level while maintaining optimal levels. Water supply will then be distributed and take 12 hours to refill the reservoirs.
Consumers will receive their water supply in stages once the water supply system has stabilised. The duration of water supply recovery in the affected areas will vary depending on the consumers’ premises and the distribution system’s water pressure.
What other forms of water supply assistance are available during scheduled/unscheduled water disruption?
AS: Air Selangor provides alternative water supply assistance by mobilising water tankers to the affected areas, with priority given to critical premises (i.e. hospitals, dialysis centres, funeral services).
Consumers can also visit hentitugas.airselangor.com to stay updated with relevant information, including:
- The affected areas
- Estimated recovery time
- Locations of Pusat Khidmat Setempat
- Public water taps that will be activated during these incidents.
Will there be occurrences where consumers don’t experience any disruption during scheduled water disruptions?
AS: Consumers will be informed about any water disruptions through the Air Selangor app, especially for water treatment plant shutdowns that trigger scheduled water disruptions. But, there are instances where the scheduled maintenance works would not cause any water disruptions.
Any scheduled maintenance work will be properly planned and involve a huge team comprising of contractors and on-site staff, water treatment plant management team, water quality lab specialists, distribution team, customer experience, health and safety officers, communication update for public and regional offices manpower. Everyone will work together through the Emergency Response Plan Team’s coordination.
To minimise the disruption’s impact, Air Selangor may activate a mitigation plan to supply alternative water supply from the unaffected water treatment plants, thanks to the interconnectivity of our water supply system.
What are the criteria set by SPAN that must be followed before implementing scheduled maintenance work?
AS: Water operators must comply with the guidelines set by SPAN to obtain approval on the work. Water operators must ensure that:
- Critical areas (i.e. hospitals, dialysis centres) that cannot be affected by water disruption are identified.
- The date and time when the work is implemented do not take place seven days before or seven days after major festivities as well as major examination dates set by the government, such as Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).
Some of these assets (i.e. pipelines) are now over 20 to 30 years old, does Air Selangor have any pipe replacement programme in motion?
AS: Through Air Selangor’s 30-year business plan, we’ve accounted for the pipe replacement programme to change over 6,000 km asbestos pipe with approximately 150km of pipe per year. These pipes are categorised as ageing pipes or beyond economic repair, requiring replacement.
Across our distribution network, these ageing pipes are mostly Asbestos Cement (AC) and will be replaced with High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Ductile Iron (DI) pipes which are more resilient to pressure and weather changes.
Towards A Sustainable Future
AS: We strive to continuously deliver clean, safe, and sustainable water supply to consumers. We can achieve this objective through our continuous efforts to increase supply margin, improve operational efficiency at our water treatment plants and minimise losses in our distribution networks.
Our unwavering commitment to deliver the best customer experience through a high standard of service is underpinned by the core values practised by our employees.
Respect to the people of Air Selangor working hard to give us clean water
We hope that the public can play their part in consuming water more efficiently and prudently to ensure the conservation and protection of the raw water sources and at the same time reduce the scarcity of raw water supply in the long run.
For more information on Air Selangor’s scheduled water assets maintenance, you can head on over to their official website to find out.
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