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Area 18 water not fit for use’

Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and the Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) may have lied when they certified that piped water supplied to Area 18 residents is potable.

A laboratory analysis carried out by the Malawi Environmental Health Association (Meha) on July 30 reveals that the water is still contaminated.

The results come just a week after LWB and Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development told residents of the area that the water is safe for consumption.

Meha conducted an investigation on seven households in Area 18A where it concluded that the water is still contaminated, according to a statement co- signed by Meha president Kondwani Mamba and Secretary Fred Mwandida.

“Basing on the findings, residents in Area 18A should immediately stop using the water from Lilongwe Water Board piped system until further scientific investigations are carried out to ascertain fitness of the water for human consumption. The results show continued water contamination with human excreta from sewerage pipe network.

“The seven samples were sent to National Microbiology Reference Laboratory for microbiological analysis. Out of the seven water samples that were analysed, four samples indicated growth of e.coli,” reads the statement.

According to the statement, the presence of e.coli in the water samples indicates that the water is contaminated with excreta wastes.

“Human excreta wastes harbour pathogenic organisms such as salmonella, shigella, e.coli, streptococcus, mycobacterium, among others which cause diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery and therefore not fit for human consumption,” it reads.

The association further calls on the LWB to find alternative ways of supplying adequate and safe water to affected households in Area 18A such as ferrying the water through water tankers.

It also asks relevant authorities such as Lilongwe City Council, Directorate of Buildings, and Malawi Housing Corporation to join hands to rectify the problems among other recommendations.

A few days ago, LWB Chief Executive Officer, Alfonso Chikuni, proposed that his board should cut services to the area until effluent is plugged off.

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