Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has bemoaned the continued overflowing of sewage in Area 18A which poses threats of another water contamination incident.
LWB since Tuesday last week when the area was affected by water contamination due to sewer overflow that sipped into the water pipes, has been working on rectifying the problem by, among other initiatives, disinfecting its supply system in the area to ensure the pipes are thoroughly clean.
The Board is also currently replacing the old pipe network with new one to ensure the safety and health of the customers.
However, LWB officials who appeared before the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) public hearing on the water contamination incident on Friday in Lilongwe bemoaned that the sewage is still overflowing, raising fears of another contamination that is if it not contained.
LWB Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alfonso Chikuni told the hearing chaired by MHRC Commissioner Patrick Semphere that the only possible solution to avoid further water contamination is to totally shutdown water supply to the area until the sewage situation is sorted out.
“But according to law, it will be illegal to shutdown water supply to the area, although that is only viable solution considering that the sewer is still flowing. Only the minister can authorize that,” said Chikuni.
Chikuni while apologizing to affected customers noted that his institution was also a victim since the sewer sipped into its pipes, adding the institution disinfected the piping system and that right now the water is safe for drinking.
“By Friday last week we had finished disinfecting our pipes and we did three tests. The system was cleaned and water was ready for consumption but we were still monitoring the situation. We are replacing the whole piping system in the area but we cannot guarantee that the contamination won’t happen again since the sewer is still flowing.”
He then noted that according to the Water Works act, LWB was mandated to handle both water and sewer systems in the city but since the enactment of the Act the sewer has been in the hands of the city council.
Lilongwe City Council (LCC) Chief Executive Officer, Charles Makanga confirmed having problems with sewer system in Area 18, attributing the problem to the theft of manhole covers and the continued tendencies by residents of throwing in sewer system hard stuff like sanitary pads, used baby pampers among other items.
“The sewer system blocks every two days due to stones and other stuff that led to pipe burst. People have stolen the covers of manholes and this has resulted stones and other items being thrown into the system,” he said.
Philip Mkwezalamba, LCC sewer engineer, noted that the sewer is still flowing in the area because the system has no control valves to close it, but assured the hearing that LCC workers were currently working on rectifying the problem.
On compensation, Makanga asked the hearing for some time, saying the issue has to be decided by the full council of the city.
Commissioner Betha Sefu said the hearing was not conclusive and informed the concerned parties that MHRC would come up with final report once it is done with its inquiries.
Safe also urged concerned consumers to exercise their responsibility by taking care of water and sewer system and improve on their sanitation by avoiding throwing things in the sewer system that are resulting in sewer overflow.
Present at the hearing were Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) which manages the houses in Area 18 as well as the sewer system despite that the LCC co-owns it.
On Tuesday morning 18th July, 2017 LWB customers in Area 18A particularly those that reside along Salima Street experienced water contamination emergency and LWB workers rushed in to contain the situation.
In a press statement issued on same day afternoon, the Board said the contamination was as the result of a sewer system that was emitting cesspool water which eventually sipped into the LWB’s supply pipe.
According to the Board, the sewer water sipped into an underground water supply pipe that burst early Tuesday morning.
And as precautionary measure, consumers were advised not to use tap water up to allow the Board cleaned up the system.
Meanwhile, LWB has started supplying clean water to the area after cleaning the system and has since assured the customers that the water is safe and fit for human consumption.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :