Previously, it was reported that some households were smelling pandan whenever they boiled their tap water. No, they didn’t boil their tap water with pandan leaves.
And it was later found out by PUB that the smell was due to tetrahydrofuran (THF), a solvent used in the industrial marketplace.
But where exactly is it coming from?
Why is that component in our tap water?
So many questions, yet so few answers.
Don’t worry, PUB has finally discovered the source of the pandan-smelling water, and it will be isolated.
Tap Water That Smells like Pandan Comes from M’sia & It Has Been ‘Isolated’
Through investigations, PUB found out that the source that supplied the pandan-smelling water actually comes from Malaysia.
Laboratory tests of the water samples that were taken from affected households and from water mains revealed that there were trace amounts of the THF organic compound in the water supply.
Don’t worry, the concentration is less than 10 parts per billion. In other words, the concentration is equal to two tablespoons of THF dissolved in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
There is no cause for concern either in terms of health because PUB has said that the compound has no adverse impact on health because there is only a trace amount present in the water.
According to their Facebook page, PUB said that it has “isolated” the affected water, and that water production has been increased so that we will no longer have pandan-smelling water.
It said, “We also took extra precaution to flush out the affected network pipes and water tanks, and replenished them with water produced by our local waterworks. We ramped up our local production (on Wednesday).”
What If I Still Smell Pandan Even After PUB Has Supposedly “Isolated” The Water?
PUB said that households should not smell pandan anymore because the issue should have already been resolved.
However, in the case that you still do, PUB said that it “could be due to remnant water remaining in house pipes”.
All you have to do is to run “the taps for about five minutes to flush out the water”.
And if you’re extra scared, PUB assured everyone through their post that they will continue monitoring the quality of the water closely to ensure the issue is solved.
THF Not Easy To Detect
Professor Shane Snyder, executive director of the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) shared his findings and said that THF is difficult to be detected in water except for its odour.
He said, “THF does not absorb ultraviolet light and at the low concentrations found in PUB waters, it is not even detectable by normal general screening technologies. In other words, it would be nearly impossible to detect through the online monitors that protect against major water quality upsets.”
THF does not react quickly with chlorine either and is more difficult to remove during water treatment.
Professor Snyder explained that THF is most likely not considered highly toxic, so it isn’t regulated as part of the drinking water laws.
He concluded, “From every THF regulation and/or guideline I could find, the concentrations of concern are 10 to 100 times higher than the concentration of THF that PUB has reported. Thus, I agree that THF at the concentrations reported by PUB in the drinking water are not significant to human health.”