LWB destroys structures close to feeder pipelines: Cautious of health risks

One of the country’s utility service providers, the Lilongwe Water Board (LWB), has embarked on an exercise whose aim is to get rid of sanitary structures, such as toilets, that are built close to or on top of feeder pipelines and pose health risks.

The statutory corporation, established in 1947 and reconstituted by the Act of Parliament in 1995, on Monday demolished a toilet in the capital Lilongwe that was close to some of its main delivery pipelines.

Toilet built on Lilongwe Water Board water line

The demolished toilet had been constructed near a Puma Filling Station—in front of a Kasungu-Mzuzu make-shift bus terminus.

“The toilet was close to LWB main pipelines from the Kanengo reservoirs, along the M1 road. The delivery pipelines (DN300mm), supply water to customers in Areas, 28,18,30,49,25, and parts of Area 43,” according to the LWB public relations office.

Silli Mbewe, the Board’s chief executive officer, confided in the media that the structures being demolished posed a high risk of contamination.

He said the exercise was being undertaken because it was not permissible by law to have the structures on top or close to the pipelines.

“It is hazardous. The existence of such structures pose a high risk of contamination in cases of pipe bursts,” said Mbewe.

According to Mbewe, LWB has been engaging Lilongwe City Council (LCC) to ensure that all approvals of construction of such structures are revoked, and eventually demolished.

As utility service provider, LWB is responsible for the provision of water supply services to the City of Lilongwe and surrounding areas designated as its supply area. LWB customers include domestic, institutional, industrial as well as commercial.

Lilongwe Water Board was awarded jurisdiction to supply water to an area of about 45,000 hectares. The supply area is currently demarcated into three zones namely: Northern; Central; and Southern Zone.

The Board abstracts its raw water from Lilongwe River which originates from Dzalanyama Ranges. There are two dams constructed along the river; Kamuzu Dam I and Kamuzu Dam II. The catchment area is approximately 1,870 square Kilometers.

LWB has always fought rumours of contamination of its facilities from the public but it has always defended itself saying the corporation adopts standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Malawi Bureau of Standards.

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