Kiten­gela res­i­dents build own sewer line

Business Daily (Kenya) - - FRONT PAGE - Stan­ley Ngotho Sn­gotho@na­tion me­

Kiten­gela res­i­dents have opted to raise own funds for con­struc­tion of a Sh39 mil­lion sewer line af­ter years of un­ful lled prom­ises by county and na­tional govern­ments that has left them ex­posed to in­fec­tious dis­eases. The res­i­dents, com­pris­ing at least 279 land­lords with property in the Ex­port Pro­cess­ing Zone Author­ity (EPZ) area, are the sole nanciers of the project that seeks to im­prove

hy­giene and san­i­ta­tion in the area. The EPZ neigh­bor­hood has been picked to pi­lot the project that pro­mot­ers hope to ex­tend to the wider Kiten­gela town­ship. The sewer line that seeks to cover 45 kilo­me­tres and join the EPZA Athi River Sew­er­age sys­tem in neigh­bour­ing Machakos County will ben­e­fit at least 300 rental flats and 100 homes with a pop­u­la­tion of more than 20,000 is set to be op­er­a­tional in six months. The pop­u­lous Kiten­gela Town­ship cur­rently re­lies on sep­tic tanks for waste man­age­ment, but ris­ing cost of hir­ing ex­hausters has oc­ca­sioned fre­quent sewer over­flows that have sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease health risks in the area. Pub­lic health of­fi­cials have ex­pressed fear that the sep­tic tank over­flows may have con­tam­i­nated some bore­hole water con­nec­tions in the area. Speak­ing dur­ing the of­fi­cial launch of the sewer line project at Kiten­gela, the res­i­dents claimed that ef­forts to reach out to both the na­tional and county govern­ments to build the key water and sew­er­age in­fra­struc­ture in the area had been un­suc­cess­ful forc­ing them to opt for the self-help op­tion. Con­tri­bu­tions for con­struc­tion of the sew­er­age line be­gan in 2015 and were im­me­di­ately fol­lowed by a Sh3 mil­lion fea­si­bil­ity study that paved the way for the three-phased con­struc­tion work to be­gin. “Raw sewage flows freely from most res­i­den­tial and busi­ness premises in this town ex­pos­ing us to out­break of water­borne dis­eases. We de­cided not to wait any more for gov­ern­ment but to do it for our­selves,” said Beatrice Wambui, a lo­cal res­i­dent. Ti­tus Ndei, the sec­re­tary- gen­eral of the self-help group, said the sewer line’s cov­er­age range was de­cided af­ter wide con­sul­ta­tion with stake­hold­ers and reg­u­la­tory au­thor­i­ties. “We shall not re­lent in our quest to get this in­fra­struc­ture built and im­prove the lives of Kiten­gela res­i­dents,” said Mr Ndei even as he called on the county gov­ern­ment to support the ini­tia­tive and en­sure com­ple­tion of the sewer line and its ex­ten­sion to cover the larger Kiten­gela area. Lack of a work­ing sew­er­age sys­tem has left Kiten­gela town­ship with ex­or­bi­tant ex­hauster charges that cur­rently stand at be­tween Sh12,000 and Sh18,000 per trip. The waste is fer­ried to Machakos and Nairobi coun­ties for dis­posal. The high cost of waste dis­posal has forced land­lords to ra­tion water us­age in their plots to cut down costs. None of satel­lite towns in Ka­ji­ado County has a sewer line – a re­al­ity that has con­tin­ued to ex­pose res­i­dents to health hazards.

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