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Epidemic looms as Lagos wastewater plant overflows


Lagos State Waste Water Management Treatment Plants at Abesan,Oke-Afa and Iponri PHOTO:

There seems to be an air of trepidation about the abandoned Oke -Afa Wastewater Plant, located at Jakande Housing Estate, Isolo, with residents fearing an outbreak of epidemic in the area.

The Guardian gathered that the plant built in 1982 was to serve over 40, 000 people through activated sludge process, with the capacity of doing primary, secondary and tertiary treatment, while the Oke-Afa Canal is the receiving point.

Before now, no major rehabilitation has been carried out on the plant apart from a minor repair in 2010.The plant serves about 50,000 people living in and around Jakande Estate. Statistics show that each of the resident uses 100 litres of water daily, five million litres of water is generated daily of which 80 per cent or about four million litres become waste water and readily flow freely around the estate.

The Guardian investigation reveals a sorry sight and state of disrepairs, with the abandoned buildings becoming a meeting point for street urchins, who converge to smoke Indian helm and carry out nefarious activities.

The only visible trademark of the plant is the effluent from the pipes overflowing into the streets and drainage system. These effluents normally find their ways through available space crisscrossing several residential homes before emptying into the canal.

According to the official, who pleaded for anonymity, the plant, which has staff strength of 10, who have been receiving salaries for the past months without work, is suffering because of old equipment, many of which are outdated.

For the plant to work optimally, he said, there is need for total replacement of equipment and key materials to avoid routine breakdowns.The official further explained that most of the pipes did not rupture, saying the waste water merely find its level since the plant is packed up and can no longer process water that is already in the pipes.

A concerned resident, who gave his name simply as Aremu said the effluents mostly feaces now run through their homes for onward discharge to the Oke-Afa canal, which often pollutes their water boreholes.

Lamenting the neglect of the edifice, which could generate revenue to the government if well managed, Aremu said the plant has the capacity of treating used water for re-use.

He called on the Lagos State government to come to their rescue before the start of the raining season, which can cause epidemic in the area.Lagos authorities pledged to commence rehabilitation of the moribund plant. The Coordinator of the State’s Waste Water Management Committee, Adeniyi Abdul, an engineer, told The Guardian that the process is on going.

He further denied receiving allocations in the past for rehabilitation of the plant.According to him, the process has begun and work on the site will commence soonest.

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Oke -Afa Wastewater Plant
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