Hopes dashed as Kajiado sewerage project collapses

By Obegi Malack


Kajiado County is among counties that are experiencing rapid growth due to construction of major roads including the Nairobi Expressway, Gataka road and Ngong-Isinya road.

In the metropolitan regions of Kajiado East and Kajiado North, new roads have exposed a major problem that has been facing the county for a long time, which is the lack of a sewerage system.

Ngong town whose population is growing at a rapid rate has no sewerage systems, untreated wastewater is discharged into watercourses as buildings that house large institutions such as banks and supermarkets are involved in discharging sewer water by the road sides at night.

The situation is worse as rivers passing through the area end up in Nairobi National Park and in dams along the streams raising cases of waterborne diseases within the region.

Pollution is also high in Oloolua forest as Ngong town and other settlements such as Embulbul and Oloolua directs their sewerage systems to Enchorro Emuny River that passes through the heart of the forest. The poisonous water destroys the forest ecosystem, killing animals that depend on the forest.

Oloolua Community Forest Association (CFA) Chairperson Christopher Muriithi says the only remedy for pollution is getting a sewerage plant in the region as pollution has continued to increase with population.

Abandoned construction materials in Kiserian sewerage project site. Photo Obegi Malack.

In Kitengela, residents combined efforts to put up a Sh40 million sewer line due to increase of waterborne diseases caused by lack of a sewerage system in the town. The 286 landlords that came together from Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) funded the project from their pockets.

A sewerage project that was expected to serve part of Kajiado North and Kajiado West is in limbo as the project stalled in 2019. It was funded by National Government at cost of Sh709,380, 957 and the contract was issued to M/S Stansha Limited as contractors.

When this reporter visited the site, it was clear the site had been abandoned and the 30 acres are under the mercy of quarry workers who are now mining in the area. The site is ridded with materials that had been abandoned with uncompleted buildings.

A local man who at the site who claimed to have been recruited as a security guard by the company says they stopped paying him in 2018, adding that he tried to follow up to get his payments but was frustrated since no one has ever responded to his calls.

“I have never seen the company officials here since 2019, I offer security voluntary hoping to be paid one day,” he said.

The project was 34 per cent complete as by May 2019 before the contractor left the site towards end of 2019; the Athi Water Services Board which awarded the contract had extended the completion of the work to January 2020 before it stalled. The contractor had also successfully acquired the new site in December 2016 after competition of land owners.

Raw sewage pumped into a river passing through Ngong-Oloolua Ward. Such eyesores will continue to be prevalent after dreams for a sewerage system has been dashed. Photo Obegi Malack.

In a statement to the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources in July 2019 the then Cabinet Secretary for Water and Sanitation Simon Chelugui (now CS Labour and Social Protection) said the construction works commenced on December 2015, a total of 4.25 km lateral sewers were laid in Kiserian town, the report indicated the value of work done and paid is Sh123 million by 2019.

Athi Water Services Project Engineer Julius Serei said the project stalled and the contractor had since moved to court to challenge the termination of the contract thus delaying the resumption of works.

Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority board chair Peter Mositet said the local leadership should push to ensure the National Government allocates the job to another contractor, adding that during the year 2020/21, there was no money allocated.

“The elected leaders from Kajiado West and North should come together and demand allocation of more funds and awarding of a new contract, the project is of importance to the locals the population is increasing at a rapid rate,” he said.

The installation of water transmission pipeline in Kajiado North from Ndakaini dam is also expected to increase discharging of sewer water in the region as consumption goes up. The Ongata Rongai Water supply project aims at providing an additional 5000m3 per day water supply.

Great Ongata Rongai Residents Welfare Association official Kennedy Nyatangi said the water project is beneficial to the locals but the government should have constructed a sewerage plant before pupping of more water to the region.

“There was limitation of water use but with more water in our taps consumption will be high, hence increase of sewage water in our compounds,” he said.

National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) Director Joseph Kopejo on August 2021 embarked on a clean-up exercise of rivers in Kajiado County that drain into the Athi River as was directed by president Kenyatta Uhuru.

The president issued the directive on his recent visit to Makueni, following the Auditor General’s report that water fed into the dam from River Athi is highly polluted.

Kopejo who inspected the rivers revealed that a clean-up exercise of rivers in Kajiado North that drain into River Athi had commenced. He cautioned landlords against dumping and urged them to occasionally empty their septic tanks.

He however noted that a long-lasting solution to pollution of rivers is the construction of sewer lines to serve the populous towns.

Kenya Scouts Association National Youth leader (NSB) Elizabeth Nyaberi says plastics are also contributors of pollution in the region and is seeking support to implement The Plastic Tide Turners Challenge (PTTC) in Kajiado North, the project involves educating people about plastic pollution, giving them the tools to change their personal behaviour, inspire communities and create a better future for people and planet.

The top leadership in the country has been using the much needed sewer project to entice electorates in every political year, during the 2017 election president Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto promised the locals that the region will have a major sewer project.

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