The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) has given a moratorium to the firm of Epesok Paper Mill Limited to upgrade its effluent treatment plant following the sealing off of the firm’s premises due to the discharge of untreated wastewater last December.
FOLLOWING the sealing off of the firm’s premises due to the discharge of untreated wastewater last December, Lagos environmental watchdog, the State’s Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) has given a moratorium to the firm of Epesok Paper Mill Limited to upgrade its effluent treatment plant.
A similar upgrading project carried out six years ago failed and dwindling business fortunes are however some of the factors militating against efforts of the company to find a solution to its effluent.
Due to the non-availability of a treatment, plant, the company discharges into a shallow canal in Shangisha a suburb of Ketu located en-route the prime neighbourhood of Magodo G.R.A. Phase II in Lagos.
A directive from the Agency has recently ensured that the company shopped for a firm of professional treatment plant consultants and engineers to perform the required upgrade of its facility, the proposal of which is now lying on the table of the Managing Director at Epesok’s offices.
The General Manager, LASEPA, Shabi Adebola, an engineer, while confirming Epesok’s defaulter status said however, that situations such as this may not always warrant sanctioning of the company but also that the agency act in an advisory role.
“Part of regulation is also to be in advisory role. Everything is not all about sanctioning, sanctioning. When you sanction, ask yourself if that sanctioning is going to yield the result. The situation is 50 – 50 most of the time. We have told them to come up with an action plan because for a facility to put up treatment plant, it is capital intensive. It also depends on the amount of water they generate to determine what the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant will be,” he said.
He equally confirmed the sealing of the company’s premises less than three months ago.
“We sealed them in December and asked them to come up with their action plan, when they bring their action plan then we will know that they are committed to compliance and up till now we have not gotten anything from them. I will ask the compliance unit to visit the place because we are really after them to do the right thing. When we reopened them after shutting them down in December we specifically asked them to submit their action plan which ought to have gotten to us by now.”
He continued: “If they have not submitted their action plan, we will have to ask them the question “what is the problem?” this is because it is important to know what a facility is going through first before we can take a decision on them. In as much as we assist them to comply (let me put it that way) we still want them to be in our state. They pay their taxes, they provide employment for our people, and so, we must assist them to comply because we don’t want them to go out of business completely. So, it is our duty to assist or encourage them on the compliance level”.
The chief engineer, Epesok, Mr. Adebola Adewale, revealed that the process is on course to pick a contractor for the job. He also confirmed LASEPA’s efforts in assisting them with the process. Adewale optimistic that the company will in the course of time be able to clean up the mess that exists at the Odukomaya community. “With the pictures I have seen now, when we are through with the upgrading of our plant, we will go there and see how we can clear up the mess,” he stated.
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