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Nema: Declare buildings sitting on sewer lines unsafe for occupation

By Nikko Tanui and Anthony Gitonga | Published Sat, August 18th 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 17th 2018 at 22:55 GMT +3

Sewage flood a residential house at the new Donholm estate in Nairobi on October 12, 2017 after heavy down pour.

The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has petitioned public health officials to declare buildings constructed on sewer lines unsafe for human habitation.

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At least ten residential apartments are sitting on a sewer line in Kericho town.

In a report to Nema’s chief compliance and enforcement officer, Robert Orina, Kericho County Nema director of environment, Samuel Ondeng stated that in one of the three storey residential apartments in Nyagacho estate, a sewer line passes through the piece of land.

“Over time, the owner of the residential apartment deliberately blocked the man hole within the buildings so that the Kericho Sewerage and Water Company could re-direct the sewer line outside the building. When the man hole is blocked, raw sewer mixes with storm water along the road and ends up in the wetland,” reads part of the report.

Mr Ondeng said the county government was directly responsible for the mess and should urgently call for demolition of the apartments.

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“Nema is in the process of suing the county government if it does not bring down the buildings on sewer line,” he said.

The county Nema director of environment petitioned the county assembly to come up with legislation to expedite demolition of the apartments

Ondeng indicted the defunct Municipal Council of Kericho for allocating the parcels of land constructed on sewer lines as well as physical planers and Public Health officials for approving the building plans.

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Owners of the buildings risk being fined Sh200,000 or serve a year in jail.

This is one of the proposals contained in the Kericho County Spatial Planning Bill, 2018, tabled in the County Assembly, yesterday.

County Assembly Speaker Dominic Rono said the Bill proposes that a person seeking to put up a building or remodel an existing one must apply to the Directorate of Spatial Planning for approval of the plan in the prescribed form and pay the prescribed fee. 

“The purpose of the building, number of people to be accommodated, water supply, the mode of drainage and mean of disposal of waste water, the mean and capacity of thereof of ventilation and the provision made for public safety must be indicated.”

According to the proposals the Directorate may refuse to approve any building, proposed development, alterations or additional to existing building on environmental grounds.

The Speaker added that the Directorate will have powers to prohibit or control the use and development of land and building in the interest of proper and orderly development of its area. 

It will also have powers to control or prohibit the subdivision of land or existing plots into smaller areas.

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The directorate will also reserve and maintain all the land planned for open spaces, parks, and urban forests and green belts in accordance with the approved physical development plan.

Meanwhile, anxiety has gripped investors around Lake Naivasha following the ongoing demolition of structures in Nairobi constructed on riparian land.

Hoteliers and flower farms will be the biggest losers if bulldozers move to the area.

Lake Naivasha has borne the brunt of encroachment with various structures including jetties and hotels constructed on its banks despite opposition from residents.

According to a senior officer from Nema who declined to be named, they would turn their attention to structures around water bodies once they are done with Nairobi.

The officer pointed to Mombasa and Naivasha as some of the areas where they were keen to demolish structures on riparian land.

“This exercise will not spare anyone regardless of their status and we have embarked on identifying structures on riparian land in Naivasha and the Coast,” said the officer.

Lake Naivasha Water Users Association chairman Enock Kiminta, said they would support Nema in the exercise.

Mr Kiminta explained that the highest water mark would be used to identify the riparian land which had been encroached mainly by flower farmers and hoteliers.

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“The highest water mark stands at 1892.82m above sea level and this will be the starting point in earmarking all structures on riparian land,” he said.

Lake Naivasha boat owners association chairman David Kilo, said the structures were submerged during heavy rains.

“We have been complaining from time to time over the threat to such structures on the riparian land since they were posing a danger even to marine life,” he said.

 


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