SEB explains water seepage at Baleh HEP

Screenshot of the viralled video claiming that there is water leakage at the Baleh HEP.

KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) has clarified the seepage of water occurring at the Baleh Hydroelectric Power Plant (HEP).

In a statement yesterday (Oct 5), following a viral video showing the seepage from the structure, it said that during the Baleh HEP’s ongoing construction period, water from the Baleh River was diverted through the diversion tunnels and cofferdams were constructed to create dry working environment for the construction of the main dam.

“Rockfill and gravel are used for the cofferdam construction. Hence seepage is a common phenomenon which has been accounted for in the cofferdam design,” it said.

SEB added the relevant stakeholders including the Kapit Resident’s Office, Bukit Mambong District Office and community groups had been informed and updated on the situation.

It also assured the public that the integrity of its cofferdam constructed for the Baleh HEP remained stable and safely intact.

“The Baleh project, like all of Sarawak Energy’s HEPs, is constructed according to international best practices for large dams to ensure structural integrity and safety, with the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) providing the primary standards and guidelines which ensures hydropower projects are built and operated safely.

“As part of the preparatory works, detailed geological investigations and studies are conducted at various stages of the hydropower project development from the initial pre-feasibility study, feasibility study, tender design and detailed engineering design,” it said.

SEB added it was closely monitoring water levels at all hydropower project sites and stations, especially during periods of heavy rainfall currently being experienced throughout Sarawak.

It urged the public and other stakeholders to contact the Baleh HEP team if they had concerns regarding the project via a dedicated grievance mechanism and feedback number at +6019 882 8641 or email to Baleh.hydro@sarawakenergy.com.

Recently, there was a video taken at the Baleh HEP and it showed there was water leaking from the structure. The video has gone viral since and raised public concern.