Residents staying on the second floor of Block 220 Jurong East Street 21 were apparently facing quite a stink.
Resident alleges chute has been repeatedly choked
According to a resident who reached out to Mothership, the rubbish chute was repeatedly choked with trash that piled up to the second floor for the past three months.
The resident had called the Housing and Development Board more than five times about the matter.
Each time she provided feedback, it took over two hours for the issue to be resolved.
She has since stopped using the chute, and sealed it with duct-tape to prevent insects from entering her flat.
According to the resident, the issue is currently resolved but is concerned that it could occur again.
Town council response
In response to Mothership's queries, the Jurong-Clementi Town Council replied that the blockage was caused by "poor usage" of the chute as a result of higher-floor units discarding over-sized items, such as cardboard and Styrofoam boxes.
Block uses a pneumatic waste system
The town council also further explained that the block is installed with a pneumatic vacuum waste collection system.
Instead of having cleaners collect the rubbish, a sensor is triggered when the container in the refuse chamber is full.
The waste is then transported by air through underground pipes at speeds of between 50kmh and 80kmh, to a central bin.
In the centralised bin, rubbish is stored in sealed containers and trucks will transport them to incineration plants when they are full.
No oversized rubbish
For this system to function effectively though, all waste thrown down the chute must be bagged, and large items, such as carton boxes or long sticks, are prohibited.
Items such as cardboard and Styrofoam boxes can often choke the pneumatic vacuum pipe underground, the town council added.
The town council added that instances of severe blockage in the main pipes are difficult to reach and take the contractor a long time to rectify, as they have to clear the rubbish manually.
Here is the town council's statement in full:
"Block 220 Jurong East St. 21 is installed with pneumatic vacuum waste collection system.
From our investigations, it is unfortunate that blockage, caused by poor usage of the chute by higher-floor units that discard over-sized items such as cardboards and Styrofoam boxes, has occurred. Such items often choke the pneumatic vacuum pipe underground. There had been instances of severe blockage in the main pipes which are difficult to reach and take our contractor a long time to rectify. They had to clear the rubbish manually.
We understand the inconvenience and discomfort caused to the residents when the chute gets choked. Our contractor is doing their best to attend to such feedback quickly, to minimise inconvenience to lower-floor residents. We ask for residents’ understanding that such manual clearance is labour intensive and takes time. We have been educating the residents on proper usage behaviour. We will nevertheless step up our education efforts and improve our response time."
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Top photos courtesy of Mothership reader