Wednesday, June 17, 2009

JTC Corp to test new drainage system for industrial estates

PUB testing 2 other projects with different systems

JTC Corporation plans to test a new gravel filtration drainage system at its upcoming Business Aviation Complex to be built soon at Seletar Aero+sPace.

The complex will sit on a 7,000 square metre compound designed to channel rainwater off surfaces and through gravel and sand before it runs into public drains.

Koh Chwee, director of JTC's engineering planning division, said: 'This is our effort to support the overall sustainable development of Singapore, and do our part to make sure the water run-off from our industrial estates is made cleaner, and help reduce pollutants or load to the waterways and reservoir systems as a whole.' JTC has completed a study that started late last year to devise an alternative drainage system to filter rainfall as it runs off industrial land, before it reaches public drains.

Currently, most industrial compounds have concrete drains along their perimeters.

The proposed gravel filtration system will also run along the edge of each parcel, channelling rainwater through layers of gravel and sand to filter out sediment and pollutants.

Such systems are not new - countries such as Germany have had eco-friendly drainage systems for some time. Studying their systems has allowed Singapore to implement the idea faster, Mr Koh said. However, there are geographic differences - such as far heavier rainfall here, compared with temperate countries - so modifications need to be made.

The Public Utilities Board is testing two alternative drainage projects with systems different from JTC's.

For instance, drains along Sengkang West Way blend into the landscape, as water collects in bio-retention swales - troughs of shrubbery that filter rainwater through soil layers into main drains.

'It is with the same impetus, towards sustainable development, that we embarked on this,' JTC's Mr Koh said. The Business Aviation Complex will be tendered by the end of this year and is expected to be fully operational by early 2011.

The drainage system will be monitored to assess cost-effectiveness, water quality and feasibility for roll-out to JTC's other industrial parks. Cost savings gleaned at macro-level from reducing sediment channelled to reservoirs, will need to be looked at too, Mr Koh said.

With investors and industrialists increasingly conscious of environmental issues and corporate social responsibility, it makes good business sense for JTC to explore stormwater pollution control measures, he said.

Source: Business Times, 17 June 2009

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