Public health officer declares Kisii town springs contaminated

Man fetches water mixed with raw sewage for domestic use at Bridge camp Kisii County. [Photo by Sammy Omingo/Standard]
All springs in Kisii town have fecal contamination and are safe for drinking only after boiling or treatment, a public health official has said.

County Public Health Officer Melitus Kabari said laboratory analysis shows that all springs in the town have particles from toilets.

The official made public the findings even as the Gusii Water and Sanitation Company Limited (GWASCO) announced a water rationing programme.

GWASCO has been trying to clean up River Nyakomisaro, which runs across Kisii town.

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Mr Kabari said his department had identified six private developers who have been discharging raw sewage into the river and would take action on them.

GWASCO has only one exhauster that serves both Kisii and Nyamira counties.

At the Suneka Sewage Treatment Plant that was built in 1995, about 2,500 cubic metres of sewage is treated a day.

The agency said the main water pump located at Kegati, put up in 1977 to serve half-a-million people, can no longer effectively serve the more two million residents of Kisii.

“We have an alternative from Nyakomisaro water supply, which produces 6,000 litres a day,” GWASCO board chairman Benjamin Onkoba said, adding that the water rationing programme would be revised.

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Major estates and surrounding markets will not be spared in the water rationing programme.

Mr Onkoba said a Sh2.6 billion loan had been acquired to expand the main Kegati water treatment plant.

“The works begun last year and will be complete in March 2019. This will increase water production and serve the ever-increasing population. The project will lead to the production of 27 million litres of water every day and will serve residents for 25 years,” said Onkoba.

For 40 years, no expansion plan has been undertaken to improve the Kegati water pump to cope with rising demand.

With the support of the German bank KFW, GWASCO will next month get a water bowser with a capacity of 10,000 litres, which will be available to deliver water at a fee of Sh1, 500, particularly to government institutions.

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