A section of Kitengela residents in Kajiado County have come together to build a Sh40 million sewer line following claims of adverse health caused by lack of a sewerage system in the populous town.
In two months, locals will have their dreams come true after a long bumpy road characterised by a myriad challenges.
Residents comprising 286 landlords from Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) area under the umbrella of Kitengela EPZ neighbouring community sewer line project have solely funded the project aimed at improving hygiene and sanitation in the area.
The sewer line which stretches along 45km to join EPZA Athi River Sewerage system in the neighbouring Machakos County, will benefit over 300 rental flats with a population of more than 20,000 tenants and 100 homes in the area and is set to commence in three months' time.
The project which has already received approvals from National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and a letter of no objection from the county government will run in three phases is expected to be complete in one year.
The populous Kitengela town at large depends on septic tanks which have become very expensive to empty with most rental plots having an overflow of sewer water.
Homes pay at least Sh15,000, commercial plots Sh27,000 and flats pay up to Sh149,000 monthly on exhaust services, but once complete, beneficiaries will pay a small flat rate maintenance fee not exceeding Sh5,000.
A sewer tanker truck charges Sh10,000 to exhaust a sewer manhole and due to the cost some homeowners are forced to cost share the services. The sewage issue has exposed residents to water borne diseases as landlords lament that the cost of emptying the liquid waste was becoming unbearable.
Public health officials have in the recent past expressed fear that some borehole water connections could be contaminated by septic tanks as sewer waters overflow.
Speaking during the official launch of the sewer line at Kitengela Town recently, residents claimed efforts to reach out to both the national and county governments to put up a sewer line had been an uphill task forcing them to come together and raise funds to put up their own.
Locals began their contributions in 2014 where they contributed Sh3 million to conduct a feasibility study which was completed and approved.
The secretary-general of the project, Mr Titus Ndei Njari, said coverage range was reached upon after wide consultation with all concerned stakeholders.
"We have held consultative meetings with all concerned stakeholders until we successfully got an approval after the feasibility study. Landlords interested settled on a monthly contribution from their rent payments towards the project while some homeowners gave their own financial support. Nobody has been forced to contribute any money; it's their own will and willingness to support the initiative," said Mr Ndei.
Landlords in phase one contributed Sh200,000, while phase two and three landlords gave Sh250,000 per plot based on population density and distance covered.
The residents further call on willing stakeholders and the county government to support them to ensure the sewer line is complete and extended to other areas within Kitengela.
"For years we had a lot of sewage challenges that was an eyesore and a health threat in most of the rental houses. Septic tanks management consumed monthly up to 50 per cent the rent collected," says Mr Ndei.
The high cost of exhausting has forced landlords to ration water usage to cut down on costs.