ELDORET, KENYA: Two water wells in an Eldoret Estate that had unleaded petrol have been cordoned off by police to avert danger as Kenya Pipeline Company denied its depot contaminated the wells.
The wells had turned into centre of attractions as curious residents milled around to draw the fuel after they were contaminated by suspected 'seepage' from two nearby petrol stations.
An acute shortage of water has hit the area with residents who have been celebrating the "oil discovery" being forced to trek long distance in search of water. Over 300 household rely on the two wells as their source of water.
Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) Acting Managing Director Joe Sang said the Eldoret depot situated 2.5 kilometres away from the contaminated wells could not be the source of the fuel.
In a statement Sang however said KPC is working with the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to find a sustainable solution to the environment threat.
"Given the location and distance of the affected wells from the KPC Eldoret Depot, which is where our pipeline terminates, preliminary findings show that there is no chance that the said product could have originated from our pipeline," Sang said.
A resident, Fred Mwange, told The Standard that the wells were their main source of water as the area is not supplied with piped water.
"We do not have water for drinking and domestic use since the wells we depend on have been marked as crime scenes by the police and we cannot access them. The authorities say we are at risk of starting an inferno but on the other side we are getting into a water shortage disaster," said Mwange.
Turbo deputy County Commissioner John Kinjo said they had started investigations to establish if somebody dumped fuel in the wells or it was seepage from an underground reservoir.
"We have deployed security officers to the wells to avert any disaster that may be ignited by the fuel as investigations continue. The wells will remain closed until the relevant authorities give a clean bill of health," said Kinjo.
Residents were on Saturday astonished to find one of the wells having a significant amount of unleaded petrol that is highly inflammable.
Another well 300 metres away was later discovered concentrated with diesel oil on Monday. Locals said they suspect the petrol was seeping from leaking underground tanks of two petrol stations 100 metres away.