Kalulushi’s Mwambashi stream pollution under investigations

Western Zambia Stream

CITIZENS for a Better Environment (CBE), a Copperbelt-based environmental watchdog, has called for thorough investigations into the cause of pollution in Mwambashi stream in Kalulushi.
And CBE has received a complaint from a Kalulushi resident that the water supplied to the area by Nkana Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC) is polluted.
CBE executive director Peter Sinkamba said in an interview in Kitwe yesterday that his organisation in conjunction with the University of Zambia (UNZA) School of Mines in the past collected water samples from Mwambashi River and laboratory tests revealed a high presence of heavy metals.
“We have in the past collected water samples in conjunction with the University of Zambia School of Mines and the current vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Simukanga led the team when he was under that faculty.
“The investigations revealed a presence of heavy metals in Mwambashi stream as compared with other streams which discharge water into it like the Mutimpa stream from the Konkola Copper Mines tailings dam in Chingola,” Mr Sinkamba said.
He said more investigations should be carried out to establish whether the pollution was caused by mining companies or it is a natural occurrence.
Mr Sinkamba also said a Kalulushi resident has complained that the water supplied to the area by NWSC is polluted.
“The resident complained that the water quality is bad and it makes them [residents] sick. We have advised him to put his complaint in writing and collect signatures of the people affected so that we can represent them,” Mr Sinkamba said.
He urged water utilities to upscale their water treatment capabilities.
“The issue of just using aluminium sulphate to settle suspended solids is not good enough. When water utilities treat water, they must ensure that the quality of water they provide to the community satisfies the requirements of the Zambia Bureau of Standards,” Mr Sinkamba said.
And NWSC public relations manager Damaseke Chibale said the utility company has suspended pumping of raw water from Mwambashi River in Kalulushi and Mwambashi water treatment plant in Garneton in Kitwe to safeguard and protect the health and well-being of the people.
Mr Chibale said in a press statement that the shutdown of the two plants will result in intermittent water supply to Kalulushi, Chimwemwe and Garneton customers who are now being supplied from the Bulangililo Water Treatment Plant.
“It is in this regard that through our daily laboratory analyses of raw water samples from Mwambashi stream in Kalulushi and Garneton in Kitwe, it has come to our attention that the levels of total hardness and sulphates in the raw water at Mwambashi raw water intake in Kalulushi and Mwambashi water treatment plant in Garneton in Kitwe has risen above the Zambia Bureau of Standards’ allowable maximum levels,” Mr Chibale said.
He said it is the responsibility of the water firm to ensure that standards of quality, safety and environment are adhered to in the provision of water and sewerage services.
Mr Chibale said everything is being done to ensure that the situation normalises as soon as possible.