Pandan-smelling tap water linked to presence of organic compound but water supply remains safe: PUB

SINGAPORE – An unusual scent of pandan has been detected in the boiled tap water of some homes in Singapore.

National water agency PUB said on Wednesday (July 22) that it is looking into this matter, and that preliminary investigations have determined that the cause of the unusual scent is an organic compound in the water.

“(The compound) may be detected by customers with a keen sense of smell or palate, but is otherwise without any adverse health effects in trace amounts,” a PUB spokesman told The Straits Times.

“The water supply remains safe to consume.”

Laboratory tests of water samples taken from affected homes and from water mains had found trace levels – less than 10 parts per billion – of tetrahydrofuran (THF), a type of organic compound, in the water.

The spokesman said PUB has received feedback on the faint pandan smell in boiled tap water from residents in some areas, including Pasir Ris, Yishun and Tampines.

The reports on the pandan-smelling tap water follow similar reports from across the Causeway. Malaysian media reported on Wednesday that residents in Johor Baru had also noticed the peculiar scent in their tap water.

The Johor River in Malaysia is a major source of water for Singapore.

PUB said its investigations so far have shown that the smell appears to be linked to water imported from Malaysia.

The agency’s spokesman added: “PUB has taken immediate action to isolate the affected water pending further investigation, and is working with the Malaysian authorities on this matter. We expect that this issue should be resolved by Thursday.”

He said that even though Singapore’s water supply remains safe, customers can request for water bags by calling the PUB hotline on 1800-225-5782.

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