Residents construct private sewer line

By Christine Tarayie

A section of Kitengela residents have teamed up to construct a Sh39 million sewer line amid an outcry over hazardous health effects posed by lack of a sewerage system in the town.
Some 279 landlords from Export Processing Zone Authority area under the umbrella of Kitengela EPZ neighbouring community sewer line project have solely funded the project aimed at improving hygiene and sanitation in the area.
The sewer line which stretches along 45 kms to join, EPZA Athi river Sewerage system in the neighbouring Machakos County, will benefit at least 300 rental flats with a population of more than 20,000 tenants and 100 homes in the area and is set to be completed in six months.The populous Kitengela town mainly depends on septic tanks which have become very expensive to exhaust, with most rental plots having an overflow of sewer water.
The sewer water have exposed residents to water borne diseases as landlords cry foul that the cost of exhausting the sewer water was becoming unbearable.
Public health officials have in the recent past expressed fear that some borehole water connections could be contaminated by septic tanks sewer water overflow.
Speaking during the official launch of the sewer line at Kitengela town recently, residents claimed efforts to reach out to both the national and county government to put up a sewer line has not borne fruit.
Locals began their contributions in 2015 and Sh3 million has already been used to conduct a feasibility study with the sewer line expected to be constructed in three phases.
The Secretary General of the project Titus Ndei said coverage range was decided after wide consultation with all stakeholders and residents giving approvals.
” Landlords interested settled on a monthly contribution from their rent payments towards the project while some home owners gave their own financial support,” said Ndei.
They further call on willing stakeholders and the county government to support them to ensure the sewer line is complete and extended to further areas within Kitengela.
“Over years we have had a lot of challenges over sewer water that is an eyesore and health threat in most of the rental houses. Septic tanks management monthly cost in some houses have surpassed amount of rent collected monthly,” said Rose Wang’ombe.
An exhauster charges between sh12,000 and sh 18,000 to exhaust a septic tank per trip which is ferried to Machakos and Nairobi Counties for disposal. The high cost has forced landlords to ration water usage in their plots to cut down cost of exhausting.
Some rental flats have been closed by public health officers over sewer water leading to wrangles between landlords and tenants.
Several landlords have been arrested and taken to court over putting lives of tenants at risk.
Some rogue landlords have been emptying septic tanks at night and disposing the waste water on the roads to the chagrin of residents.
EPZA area has been ranked as the most notorious area on inappropriate sewer water disposal.

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