Standoff: WRA study shows Kiboko river water unsafe for consumption as KPC disputes lab results over levels of impurities

Some of dug shallow trenches filled with oil at Kiboko water catchment area, Makueni County where oil spill occurred on March 30 along the newly opened 48 Billion Mombasa-Nairobi Kenya Pipeline. Photo 3. An open tank containing a mixture of water and oil extracted from trenches at Kiboko oil spill site. [File, Standard]

A stalemate rocked a meeting called to address an oil spillage that hit Kiboko natural springs on the newly-constructed Sh48 billion Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline.

The meeting on Friday brought together officials from the county government, locals, Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC), Water Resource Authority (WRA) and National Environment and Management Authority.

Oil leak

This was after KPC and WRA, supported by the locals, clashed on whether the oil leak on March 30 had contaminated water.

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The oil spill that was initially treated with secrecy by the petroleum transportation company, also saw the leaking of an unknown volume of oil underground.

A study by WRA that was carried out at Central Water Testing Laboratory in Industrial area, Nairobi, indicated that the water from the natural springs was unsafe for consumption and had harmful effects to humans and animals.

“We want to notify users of Kiboko River section between Kiboko springs and Standard Gauge Railway that the water is currently contaminated with hydrocarbons and therefore unfit for human and livestock consumption following oil spillage at Kiboko sub-catchment,” WRA middle-Athi Sub-Regional Manager Stephen Ngao declared following their tests.

He noted that results showed that the water had high levels of grease and oil, which might affect the water users.

However, Kenya Pipeline said they had also conducted their independent chemical and toxicological analysis of the water quality, which showed no contamination.

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Company’s Safety, Environment and Quality Assurance Manager Beatrice Oguti said they had carried out their test on Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons and other components such as ethylene and Benzene, but all samples passed the quality standards tests.

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Kenya Pipeline CompanyKPCKiboko Oil spill