It is estimated that KPC lost up to 50, 000 litres in the affected line

A yard in Muhoroni village in Kisumu county where stolen oil were kept.

KISUMU, KENYA: The Kenya Pipeline Company says it has completed the environmental clean-up of an area where oil spilled in June following a backfired siphoning racket.

The Company's Managing Director Joe Sang said in a statement the affected area in Muhoroni, Kisumu County was safe for re-occupation after nearly two months of cleaning-activities which included bio-remediation supervised by the National Environment Management Authority.

Nema is however yet to certify the clean-up because the oil transporting and storing agency is yet to furnish it with their environmental restoration report.

The environment watchdog’s county boss Anthony Saisi said although they were present on the ground and helped in the clean-up exercise, KPC would have to give them a hydrogeological report detailing their restoration activities.

Highlights of KPC’s hydrogeological report showed that the product which flooded the adjacent area following an infiltration of its pipeline was contained in time and did not therefore have far-reaching environmental damages.

“The results indicated that the community water sources i.e. the well and the borehole had not been contaminated during the incident. The air quality results also pointed out that the incident had no or very negligible effects on the air quality of the area,” reads the report by the company’s in-house experts.

Senior KPC engineers from Kisumu and Nakuru, shocked by the discovery, flew to Muhoroni where they discovered a complex fuel siphoning network described by County Commissioner Maalim Mohamed as criminal economic sabotage.

The racket, said to have been ongoing for at least three months, was unearthed by residents alarmed by the increasingly wet environment that reeked of diesel before they discovered that diesel was bubbling out of the Nakuru-Kisumu pipeline dubbed Line 6.

“During the repairs, it was observed that the hydrocarbon had moved past the incident point up to the farm land adjacent to the pipeline Right of Way (ROW) and also flowed along the ROW. For this reason, it was decided that a number of trenches be dug along these areas so as to form low points upon which the hydrocarbon can percolate into and be recovered into a truck. This was done in the days following the incident day,” said Sang in the statement.

Although KPC is yet to establish how much product was lost in the illegal business, highly placed sources in the company said systems in place could show leakages of up to 50, 000 litres in the affected line. Some of the stolen fuel is still being held in underground tanks at the scene of crime as evidence.

The sources said that the procurement of a Lead Detection System capable of detecting seepages as low as 5000 litres was at an advanced stage. The optic fibre LDS is expected to help in picking low leakages so as to seal loopholes for revenue pilferages and environmental disasters.

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