GOOD TO GO

Relief for KPC as Kiboko oil spill site gets clean bill

Kenya Pipeline wants Water Resources Authority to suspend a cautionary notice to allow use of water by residents.

In Summary

• Bureau veritas(k) limited , University of Nairobi and Kenya Bureau of Standards have all confirmed that the test for oil and grease was negative.

• Kenya Pipeline is implementing a seven-point action plan in environmental restoration of the site while it continues supplying 78,000 litres of water per day to residents.

SPOTLIGHT: Kenya pipeline KPC offices in industrial area. Photo/Karuga wa Njuguna
SPOTLIGHT: Kenya pipeline KPC offices in industrial area. Photo/Karuga wa Njuguna

Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) will not compensate Kiboko residents, Makueni County, after final results revealed waters, wildlife and the surrounding environment were not affected by the March 30 oil spill.

This comes amid tension between the company and the Water Resources Authority(WRA), which has refused to lift a cautionary notice it issued in March, stopping residents from using water sources in the area.

The final results revealed yesterday have confirmed negative presence of oil and grease in the waters and soil beyond the contained five acres spill area.

“The result received from Bureau veritas(k) limited , University of Nairobi and Kenya Bureau of Standards have all confirmed that the test for oil and grease was negative,” Kiboko Oil Spill Taskforce confirmed.

The Taskforce chairmed by Makueni County Commissioner Mohammed Maalim has however advised for continued monitoring of the area during the current rainy season, even as KPC engineers proceed with implementing a seven-point action plan in environmental restoration of the site.

This includes the recovery of hydrocarbons at the site where it dug 14 rings and monitor wells(six of them), which help understand how deep products have gone.

“Within the fourteen rings, there are also forty-seven segments created and currently more than sixty per cent clearance of the hydrocarbons achieved. The water is clean , which has been confirmed even by the National Environment Management Authority,”KPC chief engineer for health, safety and environment Fredrick Ogano said.

KPC wants WRA to suspend the notice so that people can access the water. The authority was to lift the notice on September 24.

"They have been part of the process which we have faithfully waited for and cooperated to the last bit.  We are still waiting for them to lift the notice," KPC chairman John Ngumi told the Star yesterday.

Since June 11, KPC has been distributing 78,000 litres of water per day to residents, spending hundreds of thousands to sustain the operations where 23 watering points are being used.The company bought eight-10,000 litre tanks for the programme.

“We will not be leaving abruptly. We shall continue distributing water and rehabilitation of the site,” Ngumi said.

Kiboko Water Resource Users Association has however sued KPC, seeking to stop the company from pumping petroleum products from Mombasa to Nairobi using the new Line 5, which leaked barely one year into operation.

Lebanese firm-Zakhem Construction was contracted to put up the 450km pipeline which was operationalised in July 2018.

KPC yesterday said its corrosion engineering department is conducting a survey to determine the cause of the leak, which has poked holes on quality of work by the contractor.

“Investigations are ongoing but we suspect the pipe could have sustained damages when being laid into the ground by excavators,” an engineer who sought anonymity told the Star.