- Turkana environment director Clement Nadio says liquid and soil samples have been collected from Etiir and Amosing 3 wells.
- Turkana county head of Nema Jacob Asembo says preliminary inspection had revealed possible seepage evidenced by visible discoloration of the ground and tear of the protective linings.
The Turkana government has partnered with the National Environment Management Authority to analyse Lokichar oil basin waste.
Samples have been taken to a laboratory. The county said oil and gas exploration activities in the South Lokichar basin will continually be checked with the help of Nema officials to protect residents from potentially hazardous pollutants.
County environment director Clement Nadio said once the results of the analyses will be shared with the public.
"Noncompliance with environmental protection laws would not be tolerated in Turkana," he said.
He spoke after a joint team of county and Nema officials completed a random collection of samples.
“Both liquid and soil samples have been collected from Etiir and Amosing 3 well pads for submission to Nema-accredited laboratories for chemical analysis,” he said.
Nadio praised residents for their vigilance and prompt reporting of the visible discoloration of soil and liquid waste around well pads to the county authorities early last month.
He noted that environment officers have been trained in the enforcement of laws through support from the Kenya Devolution Support Programme.
Nadio assured residents of the county's commitment to ensuring compliance by oil and gas exploration operators.
The sample collection, which also involved Project Oil Kenya, came after another multisectoral team surveyed the area.
They recommended the institution of corrective measures, including a random collection of samples.
Authorities say the harmful chemicals have the potential to cause long-lasting impacts on the environment unless corrective measures are rapidly put in place.
This was revealed by a multiagency team of county, Nema and Epra officials during a fact-finding mission in September at various oil wells.
Turkana county head of Nema Jacob Asembo said Amosing 3 and Etiir oil wells are the most affected sites. He said a raft of recommendations issued to the oil operators by the authority had not been fully complied with, hence posing danger.
Asembo said the preliminary inspection had revealed possible seepage evidenced by visible discoloration of the ground and tear of the protective linings.
“The matter is very serious and there is a need to handle it in such a manner that responsibility is placed on the culpable agencies for binding action. The authority will serve both Tullow and Kenya oil teams with a comprehensive letter outlining the expected improvement orders,” he said.
The visit by a multisectoral team to the South Lokichar oil basin came after Governor Josphat Nanok raised the alarm over improper dumping of hazardous oil waste.
Nanok complained about improper disposal at the South Lokichar oil basin. He said the effects of the toxic waste dumped at Etiir had become visible, having ruined vegetation around the site.