Regulatory framework for drinking water, wastewater discharge and reuse
The following figure depicts the main government bodies that are responsible for drinking water, wastewater and reuse regulation in Singapore.
Drinking water quality regulations
The NEA formulates the piped drinking water supply standards based on international guidelines such as those issued by the World Health Organization (WHO). A technical committee of experts from toxicology, water treatment, microbiology, medicine, corrosion, and physical, analytical, legal and social sciences fields at the NEA formulates these regulations. The drinking water quality standards are prescribed under the Environment Public Health Regulations 2008 (NEA/LD/39/14.v1; AG/LEG/SL/95/2002/1 Vol. 4). The current set of regulations came into operation on August 1, 2008. The piped water quality standards in the country have to comply with microbial, physico-chemical and radiological parameters given in the following figure.
Municipal and industrial wastewater quality regulations
The Environment Protection and Management Act, the Sewerage and Drainage Act and the respective regulations are used to control wastewater discharge from domestic, industrial, agriculture and other premises into watercourses and public sewers. Both domestic and industrial wastewater discharge to the public sewers is controlled and regulated by PUB, while industrial wastewater discharge to watercourses is governed by NEA. For all industrial wastewater discharged to public sewers and watercourses, companies require a written consent from the PUB board and NEA, respectively.
Water reuse regulations
There are no water reuse regulations in Singapore. However, PUB adheres to typical chemical, physical, metals and bacteriological thresholds which are comparable to USEPA /WHO Standards.
Water in industry: Semiconductor industry
In 2010, the electronics industry was the largest contributor to Singapore’s GDP from the manufacturing sector. Its contribution to GDP share rose to 7%, from 5.7% in 2009. The semiconductor industry in the electronics sector is the most important industry in the country from the point of view of water and wastewater treatment. In 2010, the country recorded a nominal growth of 49.8%, which was much higher in comparison to the global industry growth rate of 32.5%.
Future regulatory scenario and conclusions
The water and wastewater regulatory structure, implementation of regulation and compliance are considered to be first class in Singapore, and there is little left to be desired in terms of implementing, and adhering to, drinking water standards and industrial wastewater discharge standards.
List of laws, standards and policies