National Water and Sanitation Council Acting Director Eng. Peter Mutale (C) addressing a media briefing
National Water and Sanitation Council Acting Director Eng. Peter Mutale (C) addressing a media briefing

The National Water and Sanitation Council has revealed that the recent water contamination in some parts of Lusaka was caused by sewage overflow.

National Water and Sanitation Council Acting Director Eng. Peter Mutale said preliminary findings on the investigations of water contamination affecting parts of Lusaka by the the Council showed that there was sewage overflow that was reported from a housing block in close proximity to the boreholes.

Eng. Mutale added that the storm water from the complex which is discharged near the borehole site which might have infiltrated into the ground water system.

He said the sewage overflow is believed to have occurred between 29th and 31st December 2018 and was inadvertently allowed to flow in the direction of the boreholes.

“Microbial contamination was recorded in two boreholes located on the periphery of the Napsa housing complex. these boreholes supply water to Nyumba Yanga, the Napsa Housing Complex parts of ibex hill and Malata areas,” he said.

Eng. Mutale observed that the situation could have been worsened by heavy down pour, storm water runoff experienced in the period and leachates from the city’s poor solid waste management that then result into diffuse pollution in the aquifers.

“Furthermore, sporadic cases of sewage overflows were reported around Nyumba Yanga area in the period preceding the start of the new year. These conditions as well as the aforementioned, potentially propelled diffuse water contamination,” he said.

Eng. Mutale said despite the chlorination taking place at the two boreholes in question, chlorine residual was generally low and below the minimum requirement stipulated in the national drinking water standards during the initial two days of the investigation, in most areas sampled.

“At such high levels of contamination as revealed by the water quality tests, normal levels of chlorine dosing could not effectively deal with the bacteria for source or post contamination that may occur in the network,” he said.

He added, “a borehole located inside the Napsa housing complex in Nyumba Yanga and managed by estate managers had no chlorination system fitted on it while two boreholes located on the periphery of the complex belonging to Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company had chlorination systems which were functioning properly.”

“However, operators reported that occasional blockages are encountered on the chlorination systems in the process of operation. though blockages were not observed on the two boreholes in question in Nyumba Yanga, this was the case in two of three boreholes inspected in Bauleni compound. such incidences demand regular monitoring of the process and speedy redress.”

The NWASCO Acting Director said the initial response from Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company was less proactive and lacked a clear strategy of addressing the issue but later improved.

“While accidents are bound to happen in water systems, the fact that the networks in question are a direct pump-into, which do not have reservoirs to accord chlorine sufficient contact time, the utility should have realized water would inevitably reach some customers with contamination. In the wake of uncertainty about the cause and source of contamination, the utility should have immediately intensified surveillance and shut or flushed the network while investigations continued.”

Eng. Mutale has since directed that the company flushes the two boreholes and system where contamination has occurred until the source and network are safe and that during the period of flushing, alternative water supply should be provided to the customers affected.

The regulator has also directed that LWSC immediately takes charge of the operations of the borehole within the Napsa Housing Complex and install a chlorination system and that super chlorination should continue as earlier directed until NWASCO is certain that the situation is under control.

“Ensure that each satellite or production point has onsite testing equipment such as comparators, turbid and PH meters and keep records of the tests. During this period, water quality results will be reported to NWASCO weekly and not quarterly as stipulated in the water quality monitoring guidelines.”

Eng. Mutale has also revealed that NWASCO is demanding that LWSC undertakes a comprehensive review of all your chlorination systems in the city and provide a report to NWASCO by 30th January 2019.

“Take stock of all households in the affected areas and submit a list to NWASCO. All affected customers in the named areas shall not be billed for the month of January 2019.

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19 COMMENTS

    • The MD of Lusaka Water must be fired. Why?
      1. This shows that there ate very poor quality control systems in place. Its very clear that the service delivery is poor.
      2. The first reaction from him ehen people started getting sick and reporting the contanination was VERY arrogant, unproffessional and dishonest. He was busy denying it even before he had done any investigstion.
      3. There wasnt sufficient action taken to establish the truth or extent of the contanination. Neither was there any concern for the health of the affected people. If it was up to him, he would have swept it under the carpet. He is not fit to be a leader of such a vital company that carries the welbeing of so many people. Imagine if this had been in a comboni where people are less knowledgeable and have no voice. it…

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    • We have had enough from this Lusaka Water and Feaces Company. Iwe Mutale (so called Engineer). Apart from the waiver on the bill what more is this SH!T company going to do for the residents?
      This company must refund medical bills Incurred by the affected people. They must clean all the individual tanks at each household in Napsa Complex.

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  1. Right after cholera killed many Zambians due to poor sanitation standards we’re here again inviting the same health crisis?

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  2. If they are not pumping water contaminated with sewer, then they are supplying mud as water! That’s all these useless water utilities do especially on the copperbelt

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  3. All consumers of water from the affected areas must undergo medical testing to ascertain if they have contracted water borne diseases. The earlier it is done the better.

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  4. When the story about contamination started circulating on social media, LWSC dismissed it. I think the utility company must apologize for denying the story and taking a reactive position as opposed to being proactive.

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  5. The entire Lusaka is a Sewer City! The City stinks! All Lusaka residents should understand by now that if you have not invested in your own water purification system, you are drinking SH1T! Lusaka is not fit to be called a city. It’s an unplanned Ghetto! At the current rate of deterioration in sanitation, Lusaka will vomit its inhabitants because of SH1T related disease outbreaks!

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  6. Service providers in Zambia! Esih! Can you just do your jobs?
    Pathetic work culture by Zambians, that’s why foreign companies prefer other
    nationalities! Morons!

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  7. Eng. Mutale of NWASCO has gone to town about this mishap. What of that regular stinking sewer in Handsworth – Marshlands area of years, what has he done about it? How many boreholes are affected by it? Similarly by Mumana pleasure resort on the same road, same sewer stink. Matero towards Lilanda, same problem. Can he investigate and assure that the sewer overflow of these stinks is not contaminating boreholes or leaking pipes? Since no one died in Nyumba Yanga like in Kitwe in 1989 when hundreds did, probably similar not death causing inconveniences are taking place in other parts with sewer overflows.

    Take heart though, you will appreciate if you ever live in Lagos. No need to scream on molehill over these.

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  8. We thank God no lives have been lost in the area where I reside I.e. Nyumba Yanga. The amount of money lost during this contamination process is more than the January bill you are talking about. We booked cabs to and from medical centres. 7 out of a household of 8 in ny case were affected. On top of that I missed a business meeting where I was charged penalty for not attending. We were forced to buy chlorine on a daily basis while you supplied our neighbours Napsa Complex. We bought ORS and drugs from Chemists.All that cannot add up to the K400 bill you are talking about. Please consider a fair rebate

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  9. I dont think the course was sewer, anyway its is opinion there are no facts that sewer was the course.

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  10. MD of LWSC must resign (do not wait to be fired). He already made a clown of himself by denying the undeniable. Second, compensation must not be through billing! It must be as punitive as a court process or tribunal can allow so that the next management does not think this is a laughing matter. Ba nkusa mwe mbwa mwe mwasuka mwatulisha amafi.

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  11. The explanation does not add up when he says “sewer overflow ” implying there are leakages in water supply system or the boreholes are too shallow to allow seepage of sewer water.
    For me, I would say the whole Lusaka is a cesspool due to many homes that are on septic tanks, soak away sewer systems and pit latrines. Most of our boreholes do not go beyond the rock formation where most of the sewer find itself…

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  12. And some f.ool would want to say – such things happen even in USA. Copy and paste thugs!
    Kumwesa banthu matuvi sure… this is the worst you can do to people whom you antagonise for not paying water for even just a month of arrears.
    What a disaster

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