LWB, MHC urged to closely watch Area 18 sewer and water systems


The Malawi Environmental Health Association (Meha) is imploring the Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) and Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) to continue inspecting what it terms ‘functionality of the sewerage and water systems’ in Area 18 in the Capital City.

This is coming months after a water contamination saga that saw residents of Area 18 A being supplied with water that allegedly had traces of human excreta.

Meha however claims that Area 18 water is now very safe for consumption following tests conducted by its representatives.


According to a report by the organisation, which Malawi News has seen, a recent water quality scientific investigation to ascertain the suitability and safety of the water for human consumption, found no microbial growth in the water samples collected from households the area.

“Absence of microbial growth in the water samples indicate that the water was not contaminated with excreta wastes. Human excreta waste habour pathogenic organisms such as Salmonella, Shigella, E.coli, Streprococcus, Mycobacterium, among others which cause diseases such as Cholera, typhoid and dysentery. Absence of these organisms therefore certifies that the water is fit for human consumption,” reads part of a report signed by Meha president, Kondwani Mamba.

The organisation further asks for support to continue conducting independent water quality surveillance investigations in Lilongwe City and other areas in the country.


Chairperson for Area 18 residents, Leonard Phiri confirmed that Meha went to the area last week.

“I’m pleased to learn that the water is now safe and that this organisation has taken the initiative to still investigate the safety of the water even after everybody had stopped talking about it. What happened last year left us traumatised.

“Since we now have a committee, we meet frequently with the rest of the residents. We take this opportunity to tell them about their responsibility to prevent what happened from happening again. The residents are told to avoid dumping things in septic tanks and ensure that nothing that could help in blocking the pipes goes down the drain. If we avoid sewage blockage then chances of having that issue again are very slim,” he said.

In July 2017, Meha also did a similar investigation which revealed that the water was biologically not fit for consumption.

In this year’s investigation, eight samples-directly from LWB tap-piped distribution system were collected from households (seven of them from the same households of the previous investigation).

Meha is a grouping for Environmental Health professionals, and its mandate is to promote high standards of water quality, waste water disposal, air pollution control, noise control, disease control and all public health issues in urban and rural settings.

Area 18 residents were in July last year supplied with water contaminated with sewage, a thing which led to a disease outbreak in the area.

A taskforce which President Peter Mutharika instituted last year also confirmed that the area was supplied with contaminated water.

Currently, the residents are tussling with LWB and Lilongwe City Council in court over the issue and the matter is still in court.

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