Odour and colouration from water taps due to huge deposits of organic matter and silt in Mudi Dam — BWB

Following complaints from the public of odour and colouration of water taps discovered in household taps, Blantyre Water Board (BWB) has issued a statement that this was due to huge deposits of organic matter and silt in the Mudi Dam reservoir brought about by heavy rains caused by Cyclone Ana.

BWB said they had been receiving the complaints since last Friday February 18 and after immediate investigations, its water quality team discovered that with passage of time the organic matter is now producing an odour which can be smelled in their treated water.

“The water algae and other organic compounds and odour are removed through the normal water treatment process,” said the statement.

“Blantyre Water Board has, therefore, intensified water treatment and has shut down Mudi Treatment Plant until long term solution is found for the water at Mudi Dam.

Mudi Dam treatment plant shutdown

“We are also flushing out water in tanks that have been affected to ensure that clear water only is distributed.”

BWB assures its customers that “the water in its supply system goes through a rigorous treatment process and the odour or colour being smelled and seen is as a result of the [explanation].

“Otherwise, the quality of water with regard to compliance to standards has not been compromised at all.

We anticipate normal supply and water colour with the next 24 hours [from Monday and] the Board will, however, continue monitoring the situation to ensure safety of the water and its customers.”

Since Saturday most parts of Blantyre have been experiencing intermittent water supply, probably due to the shutdown of the Mudi Treatment Plant.

In 2020, residents of Ndirande-Malabada were totally unconvinced when BWB explained that a decomposed body that was discovered on in a water chamber at BWB’s Chamber 79 in the area did not contaminate the water supply to the residents.

After pressure from the residents for an explanation, BWB explained in a statement that it had been working on Chamber 79 after receiving complaints from its customers that there was no water flow but after finishing the maintenance works, there was still no water flow and its team of technicians was deployed back to check on the pipeline to Ndirande Tank.

As inspectors were still carrying out checks on the pipeline, explained BWB, a human dead body was discovered in a chamber and after alerting the police the decomposed dead body was removed.

There were conflicting reports of what happened but rumours circulated then indicated that the deceased was actually BWB’s member of security team assigned for Chamber 79.

The sources had said the security guard had actually been missing three weeks prior to when the body was retrieved and it had totally disintegrated — the head detached from the rest of the body and was immediately buried at a nearby grave yard.

BWB’s statement did not mention that the deceased was their member of staff, which the residents came to know after been tipped by the fellow guard he was sharing shifts with.

Residents were very irked by this development and several had resorted to buying bottled water for drinking because they feel the water was contaminated.

However, BWB assure customers that “the incident did not result in any contamination of the water which we offer to our customers”, adding that its “water is disinfected with chlorine and tested before being distributed to our customers”.

While BWB said the police were investigating the incident, no result was ever shared to the public.

Last year, 325 residents of Area 18 in Lilongwe were compensated of K4.5 million each after they sued having been subjected to drink  water that was contaminated with human faeces between the night of July 17-18, 2017 following a broken sewage pipe.

In his ruling Lilongwe High Court’s Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda found the two defendants guilty of disregard of duty taking cognizance that this was “a very unique case, probably the first of its kind in Malawi’s jurisprudence”.

Justice Kenyatta added that the victims “suffered a horrible experience— an experience that they would not want to remember but unfortunately will never be erased in their minds”.

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