BY SAM ALFAN.
Kiboko Water Resource Users Association has moved to court seeking to stop Kenya Pipeline Company limited from pumping or transporting petroleum products through Line V Oil Pipeline.
Through lawyer Apollo Mboya, the association wants the court to stop and order KPC to cease pumping, transmitting and transporting petroleum products or any form of hydrocarbons through Line V Oil pipeline, pending hearing and determination of the petition.
Further, the association wants pending hearing and determination KPC to file in court a copy if the project report detailing the capacity and scope of the project for construction of line V, including environmental impact assessment report submitted by the KPC in the application for a construction license.
They are also seeking KPC to supply a copy of Environment Impact Assessment License No. NEMA/EIA/PSL/556 dated September 12, 2014 issued to KPC by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
The residents are also demanding a Hydrological report assessment report detailing the underground spread extent and any possible movement of the pollutants consequences of oil leak and spillage at Kiboko area in Makueni County and Samburu area in Kwale county and intrusion at Mlolongo Town on the border of Nairobi County and Machakos County.
The association also wants to be furnished with the acceptance letter of the condition by NEMA dated July 28, 2014 and all the reports and plans filed with NEMA pursuant to the restoration order dated May 16,2019.
In the court documents, the resident allege that KPC has omitted, failed and refused to construct KM 304 line V oil pipeline in accordance to the documents submitted in the application for construction permit.
The EIA report had indicated that NEMA, Water Resources Authority (WRA) and Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) was to install a fibre optic cable digital pipeline leak detection system, for real time monitoring.
They said the oil leak and spillage from KPC’s pipeline at Kiboko area, which has been continuing for a very long time without a detection system, has polluted and continues to pollute the soil, the surface and the underground water comprising among other aquifers and springs flowing into Kiboko River and the Athi River.
“The oil leakage and spillage site is catchment with porous volcanic formation with high water table and the source of water serving the residents, downstream users and ecosystem as it drains into Athi River”, the Association said.
Lawyer Mboya told the court that there was also a recent intrusion of the same pipeline near Mlolongo town on the border of Nairobi County and Machakos County.
They added that NEMA ssued a Restoration Order dated May 16,2019 directed KPC while expressing concern on the integrity and safety of the pipeline which is barely one year since its commissioning.
This was after another petroleum oil product leakage and spillage was detected on March 31, 2019 at KM 40.5 on the same pipeline in Samburu area, Kwale County.
“The restoration order dated May 16, 2019 issued by NEMA after the oil leakage and spillage at Kiboko did not address the issue of compensation to the victims of the activities of KPC”, stated the court documents.
They said the oil leakage and spillages poses serious environmental and health risks to the residence of the affected areas who have been left destitute on account of lack of alternative water sources for domestic use and irrigation, thereby rendering the affected and surrounding areas unsafe for human habitation.
Wilson Mbithi Munguti the chairman of Kiboko Water Resource association said he mobilized residents and reported the matters to the relevant authorities.
Mbithi said on or about March 30, this year, the members and residents of Kiboko started to experience traces of oil in the water coming from various springs in the area.
Upon further investigations from samples taken from Kiboko mainsprings, Earth pan (mutiso) , Kathimani springs among others between April 5 and May 14 ,2019 , the existence of dangerous levels of petroleum hydrocarbons in the soil, the surface and the underground water was confirmed arising from the oil leak and spillage.
According to court documents, on April 8 this year, WRA issued a compliance order No. 002421 directed to Kenya Pipeline Company Limited requiring respondent to clean up oil spill area within Kiboko springs water catchment and to remove the soil containing the oil product to safer grounds.
The cabinet for Water and Sanitation in a statement to the senate standing committee on energy confirmed that the spillage site geographically lies at 37M 0356113 , 9865377(S01.217663, E037.706752) at an attitude f 935 metres above sea level and lies to the south of Nairobi -Mombasa Highway 400m south west of Kiboko springs within Kiboko springs catchment , Makueni county.
The cabinet secretary for water and sanitation further states that the said catchment has porous volcanic formation with high water table and it is the source of water serving the residents downstream users and ecosystem as it drains into Athi River.