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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

 

1.


What standard does Malaysia drinking water quality conform to?


2.


What are the parameters set by the Ministry of Health (MOH)?


3.


Who set the standard parameters and how to know whether the standards are being followed or not?


4.


What do I do if I find my tap water quality is above the limit specified in the NSDWQ ?


5.


Is water with chlorine in it safe to drink?


6.


What is E. Coli?


7.


How is E. Coli spread?


8.


What is fluoride?


9.


Is it safe to drink water containing fluoride?


10.


Why does water supplied to consumers sometimes has occurrences of yellowish/ brownish colour?


11.


The old pipes at my home have been changed to new pipes but there are still sediments at the water filter. Where do these sediments in the water supplied come from?


12.


Is the treated water supplied by SYABAS clean and safe to drink directly from tap?


13.


What can be causing our water to have a reddish color?


14.


What is the cause of dirty water supplied each time one opens a tap early in the morning?


15.


There are certain times when water comes with an earthy smell. Why does this problem happen?


16.


I am using a Fiberglass Reinforced Plastics (FRP) tank and no water filters are installed. Why are there sediments found in the water tanks?


17.


Who is responsible for the inspection and maintenance of internal plumbing and storage tank at consumers’ premises? How to maintain and wash this storage tank?


18.


How long is the life span for internal piping inside the consumer house and when to replace it?


19.


What causes the water to appear milky or cloudy?


20.


How can SYABAS guarantee the quality of water is clean and safe for consumption if consumers are not using water filters?


21.


Is it advisable to use water filter at home?


22.


What is the effect of installing water filter at home?


23.


Even though consumer does the backwash (filter) in every two days, why is the water still muddy and why the backwashed water is very dirty?


24.


Are all types of water filters not advisable to be used?


25.


Does SYABAS give any guarantee or approval on the use of filter or water dispenser machine?




Q 1 - What standard does Malaysia drinking water quality conform to?
A - National Standard for Drinking Water Quality (Second Version, January 2004) issued by Engineering Services Division, Ministry of Health, Malaysia. This is adopted from the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for drinking water quality.

 

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Q 2 - What are the parameters set by the Ministry of Health (MOH)?
A - For the list of parameters set by Ministry of Health (MOH), kindly click on the link below:
http://kmam.moh.gov.my/public-user/drinking-water-quality-standard.html

 

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Q 3 - Who set the drinking water standard parameters and how do consumers know whether the standards are being followed or not?
A - The Concession Agreement signed on 31st December 2004 specifies that all treated water supplied by SYABAS must comply with the standard stipulated in National Standard for Drinking Water Quality (NSDWQ) issued by Ministry of Health (MOH). There are 131 parameters that are being imposed in the standard.


All the standard parameters are monitored via SYABAS in-house and MOH external water quality monitoring programmes respectively.

Water quality supplied by water treatment plant (WTP) operators and the treated water quality in the distribution system are both monitored by MOH by way of sampling and testing. There are five (5) main key parameters (i.e. E.Coli & residual chlorine, turbidity, aluminium and residual chlorine) covered and tracked under the MOH’s Quality Assurance Programme (QAP). Samples are taken from the various sampling stations (SPA) which are stationed at the treatment plants, service reservoirs and also in the distribution system. In addition, the frequency of sampling carried out through the designated sampling points (>1000 nos) is based on the frequency that is stipulated in the NSDWQ.

 

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Q 4 - What do I do if I find my tap water quality is above the limit specified in the National Standard for Drinking Water Quality?
A - Please contact PUSPEL at 1-800-88-52-52 to lodge a complaint and SYABAS will investigate the water quality violation. We request consumers to provide details and information to assist in our investigation and allow for a re-sampling and testing of the water quality at the consumer’s premis – before and after the water meter (kitchen sink) and tap (after the storage tank). SYABAS views all violations seriously and will arrive at consumers premise within 30 minutes of being notified as specified in our Key Performance Indicators (KPI).

 

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Q 5 - Is water with chlorine in it safe to drink?
A – Yes. Chlorine is the most common disinfectant used. Chlorine has been added to drinking water to kill germs since 1902. The amount of chlorine used is sufficient to kill germs, but is not enough to harm humans. Chlorination of public water supplies was listed by Time magazine as one of the 50 greatest achievements of the 19th century, leading to great success in reducing water-borne diseases - Typhoid and Cholera.

Chlorine is added to drinking water at the water treatment plant. The drinking water standard allows chlorination to be in the range of 0.2 to 5.0 mg/L.


Any risk of harmful effects to humans from by-products of chlorine (trihalomethanes) is small and difficult to measure, especially when weighed against the real risks associated with the lack of chlorine in water. There are strict parameter limits about the amount of trihalomethanes allowed in treated water and this is being monitored by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

 

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Q 6 - What is E. Coli?
A - Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) are a group of bacteria that live in the intestines of many animals, including humans. Most strains are harmless, but others can cause illness ranging from diarrhea to pneumonia. E. Coli infections can be mild to life-threatening.

 

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Q 7 - How is E. Coli spread?
A - E. Coli infections are caused by ingesting the faeces of infected animals or humans, often via contaminated food or water. People can contaminate food by failing to wash their hands after using the toilet or changing a baby's diaper, although person-to-person infection is rare. Faeces from animals, ranging from cows to birds, can contaminate water or crops.

 

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Q 8 - What is fluoride?
A - The mineral salts of fluorine, the most chemically active of all known elements, are called fluorides. The most common fluorides in nature are fluorite, cryolite and fluorapatite. Fluorite is a mineral of calcium fluoride, cryolite is a mineral of sodium and aluminum fluoride, and fluorapatite is a mineral of mixed calcium fluoride and calcium phosphate.

 

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Q 9 - Is it safe to drink water containing fluoride?
A - Yes, as long as fluoride added or naturally present is at a safe level. The current dosing range specified under the National Standard for Drinking Water Quality (NSDWQ) is 0.4 to 0.6 mg/L. There is no scientific evidence to show the allowed fluoride levels in drinking water can pose a risk of health problems such as cancer, kidney failure, or bone disease. A fluoride concentration of one part per million (ppm) or 1 mg/L, has proved to be very beneficial in protecting teeth from the formation of cavities. However, too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, which in severe form, leads to brownish mottling of teeth.
Note : U.S. EPA has set a maximum contaminant level of 4 mg/L (ppm) for fluoride in drinking water and recommends a secondary maximum contaminant level of 2 mg/L

 

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Q 10 - Why does water supplied to consumers sometimes has occurrences of yellowish/ brownish colour?
A - Although treated water currently complies with all the statutory standards, the residual contents of Aluminium, Iron and Manganese and turbidity value in treated water is still considered high causing it to precipitate in the distribution network at sections of the pipe network where the flow velocities are lower than self-cleansing velocity. Whenever there is a disturbance to the flow in the distribution system like upon opening of supply after a pipe repair, the loose sediments in the pipe gets churned and carried in suspension to the consumers’ taps which explains the discoloration of water observed at the tap. However, this occurs only for a very short period of time until the flow in the system attains its steady state. This also happens in cases where some of the residential area is an old residential area and most probably the piping systems are old and needs to be replaced. Dead end reticulation system or the use of galvanized iron pipes/ storage tanks in the home plumbing system normally will cause water to be yellowish/ brownish. Normally air scouring is conducted by SYABAS at identified locations with similar issues to remove the sediments in the pipelines. If the internal pipes or tanks are old and rusted then they need to be replaced.

 

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Q 11 – The old pipes at my home have been changed to new pipes but there are still sediments at the water filter. Where do these sediments in the water supplied come from?
A - The sediments are actually from the precipitations of minerals, not sands. Filtration process at water treatment plants can only filter up to a certain size of sediments. It can filter most particles but very fine particles like minerals can still pass through the filtration process – coagulation, agglomeration, sedimentation, sand filters etc. The use of water filters with very small pore size such as in ceramic filters can filter out most of the minerals causing yellowish deposits to be formed on the filters.

 

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Q 12 - Is the treated water supplied by SYABAS clean and safe to drink directly from tap?
A - Yes. The quality of water supplied to the consumers is safe for consumption direct from the tap as the water quality is constantly monitored to ensure it is always well within the Quality Assurance Programme (QAP) and National Standard for Drinking Water Quality (NSDWQ) under the Ministry of Health and as being well within the requirements of the Mandatory Level of Service (MLS) under the Concession Agreement. However, consumers must periodically check their home internal plumbing and clean the water tank, if necessary. The presence of galvanized iron pipes in the home plumbing system and metal storage tanks normally will cause water to be yellowish/ brownish.

 

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Q 13 - What can be causing our water to have a reddish color?
A - Water might be affected by iron, a commonly occurring constituent of drinking water. Iron tends to add a rusty, reddish brown (or sometimes yellow) color to water, and leaves particles of the same color. If the color is more like black, it could be a combination of iron and manganese. Both of these metals can cause staining of plumbing fixtures or laundry, but they are not known to cause health problems.

 

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Q 14 - What is the cause of dirty water supplied each time one opens a tap early in the morning?
A - Possibility of the internal plumbing problem and during night, the water in the storage tank is stagnant. Therefore, the particles in the tank are deposited over night and will flow out when taps are turned on in the morning. The water should become clear after a few minutes.

 

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Q 15 - There are certain times when water comes with an earthy smell. Why does this problem happen?
A - This problem normally happens when there are major water shutdowns/ disruptions and SYABAS normally advises consumers to close the mains at the water meters. When water supply resumes, the high water pressure and flow will disturb all the settled sediments along the distribution pipes. As a standard procedure, scouring and flushing of mains will be carried by SYABAS to get rid of sediments from the mains before turning on the supply to consumers. At the same time consumers are advised to open their taps and let them run for a few minutes to clear any particles/ build-up that may have accumulated.

During air scouring programme, SYABAS requests the cooperation from consumers to close the mains at their stopcocks (before the meter points) when receiving notices for the air scouring programme to be carried out. However, SYABAS personnel will make sure this is being done by checking and closing them provided the stopcocks are accessible before carrying out the air scouring works. This will avoid particles/ dirt from entering consumers’ internal plumbing system.


Regarding broken or leaking pipes, the water pressure is high enough to prevent sediments from entering the distribution network. During pipe replacement programme, SYABAS will carry out proper scouring and flushing of pipes after all pipe repair or connection works before opening the supply to consumers. Also contractors’ workmanship is monitored closely and stern actions will be taken against those errant contractors.

 

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Q 16 - I am using a Fiberglass Reinforced Plastics (FRP) tank and no water filters are installed. Why are there sediments found in the water tanks?
A – Treated water contains of small suspension particles or minerals. Over time, these will become sediments in the water tank and accumulate at the bottom. It is advisable to flush the bottom of the tank yearly to remove these sediments.

 

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Q 17 - Who is responsible for the inspection and maintenance of internal plumbing and storage tank at consumers’ premises? How to maintain and wash this storage tank?
A - It is consumers’ responsibility to inspect and maintain their internal plumbing and storage tank. To maintain or wash the storage tank, SYABAS advises consumer to engage a licensed contractor/ plumber registered with SPAN to carry out this job. It is also advisable to obtain a few quotations to get the best quotation and price. For safety reasons, consumers should not conduct this task on their own as it is a highly risky task – falling from height, etc.


Kindly refer to SPAN’s website www.span.gov.my for the list of certified plumbers registered with SPAN.

 

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Q 18 - How long is the life span for internal piping inside the consumer house and when to replace it?
A - It depends on the material of the pipes. For galvanized iron (GI) pipe, it may last from 5 to 10 years. For other pipes like those made of high density polyethylene (HDPE), unplasticised vinyl chloride (uPVC), etc. they can last between 15 to 20 years. However, if there are symptoms like low water pressure, poor water quality or unexplained high water consumption, it may indicate the pipe is choked, badly corroded or leaking and they are due for replacement.

 

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Q 19 - What causes the water to appear milky or cloudy?
A - Sometimes water can appear milky or cloudy if it contains tiny bubbles of air. If water is run into a glass, these bubbles will disappear if left standing for a minute or so; clearing from the bottom upwards as the bubbles rise to the top. Air can enter the water from the mains, or it can be drawn through a faulty plumbing fitting such as a loose tap gland. The air is dissolved under pressure and released as millions of tiny bubbles when the tap is run. Sometimes you can solve the problem simply by tightening a tap gland nut. However, in all cases the air is totally harmless.

 

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Q 20 - How can SYABAS guarantee the quality of water is clean and safe for consumption if consumers are not using water filters?
A - SYABAS is very confident with treated water quality supplied to consumers. All parameters comply with the Ministry of Health (MOH) requirements. The following are the sampling and test on treated water quality conducted by :-
   - Water Treatment Plant - 1x daily for Bacteria
   - every 2 hours for pH, Turbidity, Chlorine, Aluminium & Fluoride
   - SYABAS - weekly sampling by internal team
   - weekly sampling by external party (Ministry of Health)


Sampling in the water distribution network is conducted at specified water sampling stations.

 

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Q 21 - Is it advisable to use water filter at home?
A - SYABAS normally advises against installing water filters after the water meter. The use of water filters with very small pore size as in the case of ceramic filters / activated carbon filters can reduce the Free Residual Chlorine (FRC) content in treated water. When treated water with low FRC enters the water tank and is stagnant, this can promote the growth of bacteria in the water, leading to skin irritation, etc. If consumers still insist on installing water filters, it is best to install them at the kitchen sink.

 

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Q 22 - What is the effect of installing water filter at home?
A - SYABAS does not encourage their consumers to install water filter outside their houses because the filters will take out/ remove some of the minerals and chlorine from the water and also reduce the pressure of the water flowing into their houses. However, those who have already invested in these filters must carry out proper maintenance/ backwashing periodically as recommended by the manufacturer/ supplier to ensure the safety and quality of the water.

 

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Q 23 - Even though consumer does the backwash (filter) in every two days, why is the water still muddy and why the backwashed water is very dirty?
A - Water supplied by SYABAS contains minerals and minor deposits that are required by the body and the small amounts of deposits are not harmful to health. According to the National Standard for Drinking Water Quality (NSDWQ), it allows for some particles (≤5 NTU) and minerals to be present in the water. The filters are actually trapping the particles (residual turbidity) and minerals like Manganese (≤0.1 mg/L) & Ferum (≤0.3 mg/L) which forms a dark brown slimy layer on the household filters. All these minerals and minor deposits will be backwashed during filter maintenance which causes the appearance of muddy / dirty water. Water supply to the consumers’ premises is treated water and NOT distilled water.


What consumers must be aware is that some of these filters (e.q. carbon filters) can remove or reduce the Free Residual Chlorine (FRC) in the treated water. The reduction of FRC below 0.2 mg/L as stipulated by Ministry of Health (MOH) can promote bacteria growth especially in the water storage tank, where water can remain stagnant if consumption is low. If consumers still wish to install filters, it is advisable to install them at the kitchen taps. To prevent laundry from staining, a cheap filter can be installed before the washing machine.

 

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Q 24 - Are all types of water filters not advisable to be used?
A - Generally yes. SYABAS normally advises consumers against installing water filters after the water meter. The use of water filters can reduce the Free Residual Chlorine (FRC) content in treated water. When treated water with low FRC enters the water tank and remains stagnant, this can promote the growth of bacteria in the water, leading to skin irritation, etc. If a consumer still wants to install a water filter, it is best to install one at the kitchen sink. However, those who have already invested in these filters must carry out proper servicing and maintenance to ensure the safety and quality of the water.

 

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Q 25 - Does SYABAS give any guarantee or approval on the use of filter or water dispenser machine?
A - SYABAS does not provide any guarantee or approval on the use of water filters and water dispensing machines. It is under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Trade and Consumers Affair (KPDNKK). For the water dispenser machine that sells water for 20 sen per liter etc, the cleanliness and maintenance of the machine are not guaranteed at the tap/ faucet/ dispenser area. It is advisable for consumers themselves to be wary as poor hygiene can lead to bacteria growth and contamination of water.

 

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