Some residents said that they have been dealing with the noxious smell since February 2020 when the remediation works started, while the loud noise has disturbed them at all hours. Photo: Facebook.com/smelly air from old Kallang Gasworks site
Some residents near the site of the former Kallang Gasworks, which is undergoing remediation works to transform it into a car-lite residential precinct, are growing exasperated by the noxious smell and incessant noise coming from the construction site, reported TODAY.
The former Kallang Gasworks is a 3.14ha site along the Rochor River. It ceased operations in 1998 and was demolished in 2003.
In February 2020, remediation works commenced to remove the chemicals within the soil on the site. The works are expected to be completed by end-2022.
Thereafter, the site will be redeveloped into a car-lite waterfront district offering around 4,000 new private residential units.
Within a 100m radius of the old Kallang Gasworks are six Housing and Development Board (HDB) blocks and three private condominiums, with 3,550 residents.
They are HDB Blocks 466 to 468 on Crawford Lane, HDB Blocks 813 to 815 on Jellicoe Road, Citylights Condominium, Southbank Condominium and Kallang Riverside Condominium.
Some residents said that they have been dealing with the noxious smell since February 2020 when the remediation works started, while the loud noise has disturbed them at all hours.
With the remediation system operating round-the-clock, the residents only respite is when the wind is not blowing the fumes in their home’s direction.
They have experienced symptoms like cough, runny nose, breathing difficulties and nausea.
A resident at Block 468, who wished to be identified only as H Teo, said he experienced allergy-like symptoms since the start of construction work.
A memo from a doctor dated 10 April 2020 states that Teo experienced irritations to his nose and eyes as well as an eyelid infection, which could have been due to exposure to air pollution.
To minimise the fumes’ effects, some residents have shut their windows and switched their air-conditioners on all day, but to no avail.
This was the case for a Citylights condominium resident, who wanted to be identified only as Mdm Wang.
She revealed that her husband had to visit the doctor twice last year as he started to manifest allergy-like symptoms like irritation in his eyes as well as runny nose.
With these, a group of residents created a Facebook group, known as Smelly Air from old Kallang Gasworks site, to urge authorities to take the matter seriously.
Some residents, however, such as retiree Tng Ah Chio said they have not noticed any foul smells within the area.
The 70-year old resident of Block 467 at Crawford Lane assumed that the odours detected within the area came from wet dirt after it rains.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Singapore Land Authority (SLA) told TODAY that much like any construction site, intermittent odours and emissions are to be expected during the soil remediation works.
However, the air released has already been treated; hence, does not pose any adverse health risks to the community living and working within the area.
Nonetheless, the authority took steps to mitigate the noise and odour’s effects in response to the 139 complaints received from February to June 2020.
This include putting in place a new treatment system to remove odour-causing compounds, replacing old generators with new models and adding sound-proof padding around noise generating equipment.
With the measures in place, the number of complaints received since 14 December – when remediation works resumed following its suspension due to COVID-19 restrictions – fell to 25 as of 18 March, said SLA.
Moreover, the National Environment Agency (NEA) noted that both the emission readings and noise level from the remediation site were all within its regulatory limits.
On conducting remediation works off-site, SLA Assistant Chief Executive for Land Operations Thong Wai Lin explained that off-site treatment will require a large excavation area, leaving more soil exposed, making it more difficult for them to control the odour emitted.
On Saturday (21 March), a two-hour closed door meeting was conducted by SLA with eight residents as well representatives from Aecom, NEA and the site contractor Swee Builders.
During the meeting, SLA explained the mitigating measures it has put in place, while the residents asked what other measures will be done to alleviate the problem.
“We assured them that SLA and our contractor maintains round-the-clock monitoring to ensure that the noise and odour readings continue to be within safety limits,” said SLA as quoted by TODAY.
After the meeting, some residents expressed disappointment when the authorities did not share what further steps will be taken to improve the situation.
Although they acknowledge that measures have been put in place to address the problem, they noted that the solutions were not enough since they are still suffering from noise and noxious odour.
“We are not looking for trouble, we are appealing for help. We are suffering. We need help, that’s all we are asking for,” said 59-year old Kallang Riverside resident CT Liu.
Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this story, email: firstname.lastname@example.org