Onsite sanitation system replaces exhaust model

Officials of Iko World Initiative inspecting a waste water recycling plant at Sagana Mall in KIrinyaga county. The recycling system has assisted in sanitation due to the absence of sewerage plants in fast-growing towns in Central Kenya. [Boniface Gikandi, Standard]

With more than 83 per cent of Kenyans experiencing challenges in management of waste water from their premises, due to lack of sewer facilities, many are turning to onsite solutions.

A report by Water Resource Regulatory Authority (Wasreb) shows only 26 counties have sewer lines that benefit a section of the population.

Started four years ago, Iko World Initiative has established networks, resolving the nightmare in management of waste water in urban centres, targeting schools and hotels due to huge population.

Iko World Initiative, led by Ms Lucy Kionga, three years ago constructed waste water treatment system at Sagana Mall after the operator spent thousands of shillings on daily basis hiring services of exhausters.   

In the concept, the waste water is recycled and pumped back for re-use in watering gardens, re-flushing toilets among other chores.

The waste water management recycling plant has the liquid directed into the first chamber to settle for three days before it moves to the sedimentation chambers passing through sand and stones. After three days, the water is released to the environment.

Majority use the recycled water for maintaining their lawns and for flushing toilets.

The cost of the recycling water system depends on the size of the plant and the number of occupants it serves.

Sagana Mall caretaker Mercy Wanjiru said management of the waste water internally drove away exhaust operators from the premises.

The group has constructed septic tanks in Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kwale, Nairobi and Kisumu.

Three years ago, the management of Sagana Mall engaged Iko World Initiative to construct a waste water system. This saved it the cost of engaging exhaust operators - it cost Sh10,000 per truck then.

“The construction of the septic tank reduced the water bills, with the recycled water used for re-flushing the toilets and watering the flowers,” said Ms Wanjiru.

In Gakoigo village near Maragua town, a three-storey building accommodating more than 163 students from Murang’a Technical Institute is connected to a recycling sewer plant.

Dishon Waweru, a centre manager, said waste water from the rooms is drained into a septic tank for purification, before clean water is released into the environment.

“Despite the high number of students, the centre has not encountered problems with our waste water,” said Waweru.

At Kenol market, considered the worst hit in the management of waste waters, several investors have adopted septic technology after incurring heavy costs emptying flooded pit latrines during rains.

John Kangangu said lack of a decent disposal system led to frequent conflicts in the neighbourhood.

Murang’a Public Health Officer Muthui Gitonga said heavy investment on water distribution should match the waste management systems.

Mr Gitonga said the policy demands that water service providers should provide the customers with sewer lines.

“But today there are hundreds of water projects with a few to address the management of waste waters,” said Muthui.

The government, he said, should consider setting up a sewerage plant in Maragua town to match with the investment made in the water distribution in the locality.

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