A six-member task-force appointed by President Peter Mutharika to investigate the water contamination incident that occurred in Area 18 in Lilongwe in July last year when some residents had sewage-filled water flowing from their taps, has completed its work and presented a report which confirms the inhumane and degrading water contamination in the capital city’s township.
The report was submitted on Monday to Government’s Chief Secretary Lloyd Muhara.
Presenting the report of the findings, Chief Director in the Office of President and Cabinet, Rexie Chiluzi, who was Chairperson of the taskforce, said having analysed all the information collected the committee found that that some areas in the capital city’s Area 18A residential estate were supplied tap water that had been mixed with sewage on 18 July, 2017.
Chiluzi said a blocked sewerline that resulted in an over flowing manhole caused the contamianation for a Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) supply pipeline.
He said one of the supply pipes burst underground near a broken sewer system, a development that sipped the sewerage into the LWB supply pipeline.
“The sewer had been flowing in a road side drain along Salima Street passing where the board
water pipe burst which was 100 meters away from the overflowing manhole,” he said.
The taskforce has recommended Lilongwe Water Board should continue conducting water quality tests in all parts of the city on regular basis to ensure that quality of water conforms to standards.
The report has recommended that Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) to have a well trained staff who should be dealing with sewer systems on daily basis.
The taskforce has further recommended to the Lilongwe City Council (LCC) to improve Sanitation in Area 18 and the rest of the city.
MHC and LCC are the ones who manage the sewer system in the area which, according to the residents, overflows very often but the two institutions are failing to rectify the situation despite recent water contamination incident.
In his statement, Muhara commended the task force for coming up with the report.
Muhara also urged the LCC, MHC and LWB to make use of the recommendations.
A series of press investigative reports tt exposed how deep-rooted the problem of faecal matter was getting into city residents’ food and water.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, who is also leader of Opposition in Parliament, the Area 18 contamination could be a tip of an iceberg on the magnitude of the problem in the cities of Malawi as most of the installations were built about 50 years ago.
The civil service-led team had deputy Director of administration (OPC), Victor Sandikonda in the secretariat.
Other members in the task-force were Modesta Kanjaye, Director of Water in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development; Chief State Advocate in the Ministry of Justice, Pacharo Kayira; Director of Local Government Service in the Ministry of Local Government, Sphiwe Mauwa, and Dr. Magret Kabuluzi who is Director of Preventive Health Services in the Ministry of Health.