Water Quality Regulations 2006 prohibits any person from discharging any effluent from sewer treatment works, industry of other sources into the environment without a valid effluent discharge license issued by NEMA. The regulations also outlines that waste water should be treated before it is discharged into a public sewer line.
Many factories in the country have been contravening these provisions by either discharging untreated effluent into a public sewer or discharging into the environment without an effluent discharge license.
According to pundits, this has been a major source of pollution of major rivers in the country especially Nairobi River where the untreated effluent finds its way.
NEMA in its 100 RRI on Effluent Discharge License (EDL) has been working tirelessly to identify factories throughout the country discharging without an EDL or releasing untreated waste.
According to Ag. Director General, Mamo Boru, NEMA has identified 78 facilities on riparian reserves, out of which, 25 have already been demolished in Nairobi County. The Authority has continued to coordinate and engage agencies for protection of riparian reserves in the Country.
Mr. Mamo also noted that NEMA has identified 102 discharge points along Nairobi River. Out of inspections conducted, 50 percent of firms have complied. The heightened inspections were meant to ensure remaining facilities have complied as per Water Quality Regulations 2006 or the owners be prosecuted in a court of law.
During the inspections, the following companies have been closed; Synresins, Sameer Agriculture and Livestock Limited (Daima), Kamongo Waste Recycling, Modern Lithography, Associated Battery Manufacturers (ABM), Apex Coating East Africa, Thorlite Kenya.
Most of the affected companies have been closed for discharging effluent into the public sewer without a pre-treatment systems. Those in charge have also been arrested and prosecuted in court.
During the board of management visit to EPZA in Athi River, the board found that the sewer line being run by the parastatal at Kinanie was dysfunctional and wanting. As a result, most of effluent from industries in EPZA ends in the larger Athi River that is a major source of livelihoods downstream. EPZA was also found not to have implemented recommendations given to it to improve their management of solid waste and waste water.
“Before any waste is discharged into a river, it must comply with specific acceptable standards, which can be treated by nature itself, what EPZA is discharging into Athi River is poisonous,” said NEMA Chairman John Konchellah when he led an inspection at EPZA premises.
These finding at EPZA forced the Authority to swing into action ordering the Managing Director of Mavoko and Sewerage Company to report to NEMA for running an inefficient Kinanie sewerage plant that discharges into Athi River.
The Authority is also conducting inspections in EPZA to identify factories running wet processes without a working pre-treatment system to arrest pollutants before discharging into the public sewer.