In Summary
  • KPC has paid out Sh31,255,681 as compensation to 266 residents of Thange whose farms and livestock were affected.
  • The KPC has since repaired the pipeline and has been cleaning the affected river ecosystem through EnviroServ (K) Ltd, a waste management company.

Makueni farmers who depend on the River Thange for irrigation will have to wait longer before resuming farming, a task force on the oil spill that polluted the river basin four years ago has said.

The decision, reached during a meeting last Tuesday, was informed by a report indicating that the river water, the soils and the underground water in the area are still contaminated by petroleum products, months after a company contracted by Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) to clean the area left the site.

The study, commissioned by KPC and undertaken by SGS Kenya Ltd, an environmental integrity testing company, shows a significant reduction in the amounts of total petroleum hydrocarbons (Tph) since July 2017 when the results of the study were published, and recommends further studies “to reassure the stakeholders of the safety threshold of the water”.

“The trench water samples still have traces of hydrocarbons exceeding the Dutch guideline limits,” the report released in December 2018, referring to global standards in environmental cleanliness, says.

BAN

The meeting chaired by Makueni County Commissioner Mohammed Maalim was tasked with looking into how the issues arising from the oil spillage that affected hundreds of farmers scattered in six villages could be managed, and centred on analysing the SGS report.

“The ban (on farming along the river) is still in place until studies show that the area is safe,” Mr Maalim told the Nation after the meeting; the ban was put in place in 2015.

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