Monday, February 6, 2012

Mulonga water denies supplying sewer water

MULONGA Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) have denied allegations that it supplied contaminated water to Mupambe township residents in Mufulira. Mupambe township residents have sued MWSC as the defendant’s in the Kitwe High Court for negligence and breach of duty by allegedly supplying contaminated water between October and December last year. Kenny Mukosa and 169 others, who are the plaintiffs in the matter, alleged that MWSC improperly and negligently omitted to seal leakages to their water and sewerage pipes. The plaintiffs claimed that as a result of the negligence, the water from the sewer pipe sipped into the pipe carrying water for consumption thereby making the supplied water unclean, foil and causing severe stomach pains, diarrhoea, high fever, vomiting and gas troenteritis. But in an affidavit in defence, MWSC through their lawyers Jaques and partners, denied the allegations and stated that it was not responsible for the contaminated water. MWSC claimed that during that period, it duly chlorinated the water from the point of supply but alleged that the water got contaminated either from the point of vandalism or from the point where the water reticulation system remained vandalised by the plaintiffs thus exposing them to health risks. The company claimed that the entire sewerage system where most of the plaintiffs reside was dilapidated partly due to wear and tear and partially due to vandalism by the plaintiffs themselves and stated that the cases of vandalism were beyond the company’s control. MWSC claimed that the water and sewer pipes were vandalised by persons either known or unknown by the plaintiffs who were in the habit of using the leaking sewerage as a form of manure for their crops. “The defendants denies the particulars of the negligence and would aver that at no time did the defendant’s cause or permit the leakages of the sewer and water pipe as the same were a subject of rampant vandalism by members of the community,” read the defence in part. The water utility company said even though it had the legal obligation to provide clean and safe drinking water, there was a corresponding obligation for the plaintiffs to pay for water and sewerage services rendered and that the plaintiffs were in arrears to the tune of K1, 658,120,016 for last year. MWSC noted that since the incident, remedial measures have since been undertaken and that the company has replaced the worst patch of the Mupambe main sewer line from the pump station covering the area of contamination up to the rail line and had further moved the water line by a distance of five metres at a cost of K32 million. The company also stated that it has since submitted to the Ministry of Local Government, Early Education and Environmental Protection a total overhaul of the entire water and sewerage network of K5.6 billion. The matter comes up for hearing on May 10, this year before High Court Judge Isaac Kamwendo.

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