Floods damage sewer plant sparking fears of diseases outbreak

Homa Bay residents watch how walls of a sewerage treatment plant costing Sh215 million were destroyed in the area by floods. [Photo by James Omoro/Standard]

Raging floods have destroyed part of the Homa Bay sewer treatment plant, causing raw sewage to flow into Lake Victoria.

The plant lies less than 100 metres from the lake, which is the major source of water for town residents.

The floods have destroyed a large section of the Sh215 million plant whose construction was funded by the World Bank through the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project in 2015.

The floods demolished walls meant to prevent water from entering the sewerage treatment plant.

Without the walls, floodwaters are flowing in whenever it rains before making their way into the lake along with the sludge.

The floods have also destroyed a number of sewer lines, redirecting more sewage into the lake.

Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata expressed fears that the spillage could lead to an outbreak of waterborne diseases. He said they had temporarily stopped pumping clean water as a precaution.

Pumping water

“We are worried that pumping water at this time could cause contamination when sewage finds its ways into the water supply pipes,” he said.

Mr Orata urged residents to boil water before using it to avoid contracting cholera.

“We have also told the Public Health Department to prepare all manner of drugs that can help the people.”

Deputy County Commissioner Chuck Masua asked residents with structures along drainage channels to move them.

“Some investors erected structures on road reserves. They should be demolished because they block the flow of water and eventually cause floods,” Mr Masua said.

Kojwach MCAs Joan Ogada and her nominated counterpart Evaline Otieno donated food and non-food items to about 50 households affected by the floods in Shauri Yako estate and expressed concerns about the poor drainage system in the town.

In Kisumu, 550 families in lower Nyakach have been rendered homeless by floods after two days of heavy rain.

The families are now living in five rescue centres as Kenya Red Cross Society and the county government work round the clock to provide them with basic supplies.


Learning in five schools has been disrupted as the displaced have put up in the institutions, while other schools have had classrooms damaged by water.

Yesterday, a spot check by The Standard revealed a dire situation in Kochola West, Gem Rae, Lisana and Wasare villages.

Sought refuge

At Pap Onditi Social Hall, 46 families sought refuge, while Kanyalwal Primary School had 56 families. Katito Centre is housing 50 families and Rae Primary School 100 families.

Elly Otieno, 55, from Rang’ombe village, is among 50 people currently sheltering at Asawo SDA Church.

“I lost everything. The floods were unexpected and when they came we were only able to save our lives. We had to carry our elderly mother to the rescue centre. When we returned we found our houses submerged,” said Mr Otieno.