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SINGAPORE: The air quality in the vicinity of the Tuas chemical plant that caught fire is within the normal range, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Friday (Feb 24), noting that people who were nearby at the time of the fire had noticed a chemical odour coming from the plant.

During the fire, the chemicals that were stored in the plant were contaminated with waste, including solvents, oil sludge and other industrial waste, said an NEA spokesperson in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia. She added that the waste may have been “volatised” when burnt at a high temperature.

“However, they are transient and become quickly diluted as they disperse in the air and are unlikely to be a cause of concern.”

NEA added that air quality measurements taken in the vicinity of the plant during the fire showed that the air quality was within the normal range.

In addition, the air quality records from NEA’s monitoring stations in Tuas and Jurong showed that the air quality was in the normal range, the agency said.

Since the fire, air quality measurements taken in the vicinity and at the monitoring stations have remained in the normal range. The agency added that its officers will continue to monitor the site and its vicinity.

Water samples taken from drains in the vicinity had pH readings between 5 and 7, which is slightly below the normal range, NEA said.

Separately, water agency PUB told Channel NewsAsia that its officers inspected nearby sewers and found them to be operating normally. They also collected samples of used water from the sewers for analysis.

PUB added that preliminary checks showed that there was some damage to the drain walls and railings of a section of the outlet drain along Tuas South Avenue 7, and that repair work would be scheduled after a more detailed assessment.

An eyewitness told Channel NewsAsia that he saw the fire spread through a canal.

(Photo: Lee Li Ying)

It took 200 firefighters four hours to put out the massive blaze on Thursday.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force is still investigating the cause of the fire.

NEA added that it is working closely with the company – Eco Special Waste Management – as well as other government agencies to review the company’s processes and safety procedures. 

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