Waste water discharge into our environment

Written by
Dr Ayub Macharia

Polluted river
Kenya is categorized as water scarce country. But most of the little water available to us is also polluted. Over 80% of Kenyans get water for their domestic use from open sources such as lakes, rivers, streams and shallow wells. It is therefore necessary that our water bodies are protected from any form of pollution.
The Environmental Management and Coordination Act (1999) states that nobody should discharge into the environment without acquiring a waste discharge license from NEMA. Institutions that do not discharge into the sewer systems are expected to:
1. Identify waste water sampling points and mark them appropriately
2. Submit quarterly results of water quality analysis
3. Pay keen attention to laboratory results on quality of waste water.
4. Rectify any anomalies observed from the laboratory results
5. Read the license properly especially the conditions at the back of the page. The license should not be framed and hanged on the wall but should be filed and read and implemented. The conditions at the back of the page should help the institution to establish whether waste water treatment facility is working. To come up with these conditions, NEMA consults widely and hence its necessary to read and implement them.
6. The companies without discharge licenses should not discharge pre-treated waste into the sewer system. The untreated pollutants kill the microbes normally used in the municipal waste treatment ponds.
7. Submit annual environmental audit report to NEMA and implement the Environmental Action Plan.
8. Invest in technologies to clean the water so as to discharge within the recommended standards
9. Every facility to take care of their waste such that it does not get into water bodies. For instance any facility dealing with hydrocarbons should ensure their oils do not spill on the ground.

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