Written by Janice Koong, Assistant Senior Sixer and Scribe
It was 4 pm when the senior sixers blew the whistle and all the excited cubs assembled in school. We were going on our annual night hike! After Chil briefed us on the trail, we set off excitedly in two buses. The ride was long, almost 45 mins!
We reached Punggol Waterway (@Punggol Road) at 5, all of us raring to start the hike. Finally, we started the hike at 5.30. After a long walk along Punggol Waterway, we reached a bridge, crossing which brought us to the Lorong Halus Wetland.
The Lorong Halus Wetland is an interesting place. It is an organic water treatment system, a nature park and an education centre, all rolled into one! We stopped at the Visitors’ Kiosk where there were several information boards on its history and unique water treatment system. And this was our assignment for the day handed out by Chil. Each Six was to gather as much information as possible and record it in their Scout Log. Four Sixes, Wallaby, Wombat 2, Emu and the Senior Sixers, presented their findings.
Then, it was time for our picnic dinner! Most cubs brought snacks such as potato chips, crackers and sausages. Nevermind the junk food… We had lots of fun sharing it! It was turning dark and mosquitoes were coming out.. Besides food, we shared mozzies, too!
Before leaving the Lorong Halus Wetland, we played a short game - Which six could form the longest line? Each Six sent 5 volunteers to form the line. We had to think of the most creative ways to form the longest line using only our body parts; no caps, bags, shoes, and what nots. In the end, the combined group of Emu and Koala gained victory. Well done!
After spraying on some mosquito repellent, we continued our trail, in the dark! The 2nd half was twice the length of the 1st. We walked along the water edge, facing Serangoon Island, aka Coney Island, heading to Punggol Jetty. The ground was muddy, and there were many puddles. Squelch! Squelch!
We hopped onto the buses at Punggol Jetty, relieved! After a long and tiring ride, we finally reached the school, with all our parents waiting for us. Chil debriefed and dismissed us. This was one never-to-be-forgotten hike.
Lorong Halus Wetland
Lorong Halus is located in the northeastern part of Singapore, along the Serangoon Reservoir, the 17th reservoir in the country. From 1970 to 1999, Lorong Halus was a solid waste landfill, i.e., a dumping ground. It occupied more than 234 hectres along the eastern bank of Sungei Serangoon. Part of the unused landfill was then transformed into the Lorong Halus Wetland which was officially opened in June 2011.
Water Treatment Process - Bio-Remediation System
The Serangoon Reservoir is sited next the Lorong Halus Wetland. When it rains, water can pass through the waste buried underneath, seep into the reservoir and pollute our water. Using an innovative bio-remediation system, the Public Utilities Board designed Lorong Halus Wetland to prevent the flow of leachate into Serangoon Reservoir and redirect it to the wetland for treatment.
An impermeable underground wall, 0.8m thick, 18m deep and 6.5 km long was built along the length of the old landfill to keep the leachate out of the reservoir. In the wetland, the leachate is pre-treated at the equilisation tank, aeration lagoons and sedimentation tank where suspended particles are removed. Then, the leachate is distributed into the reed beds where plants absorb nutrients and toxic substances from the leachate through their roots. Finally, the leachate flows to the polishing ponds where more nutrients are absorbed, after which the treated water is directed to the reservoir.
The old landfill is now a haven for plants, birds and other wildlife. A rustic trail among the reed beds and ponds allow us to get up close to the wetland system. This new ecosystem not only protects our reservoir water, it is a recreational space for everyone to enjoy nature and provides opportunities for education and research, too.