Hoteliers in Narok are paying huge sums of money for exhausters to empty their septic tanks and transport the waste to Bomet County, more than 82 kilometres away for disposal.
The lack of a sewerage system in the town that has an estimated population of over 60,000 people has forced real estate owners to use septic tanks to dispose off solid human waste which is later siphoned by hired exhausters, thereby pushing up the cost of housing.
The Narok County government had set aside a spot at a quarry near Narok town to dispose human waste but the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) closed down the site two months ago after it got full and was spilling the waste into the adjacent Enkare Narok River.
TAKEN TO BOMET
For lack of an alternative spot, the exhausters transport the effluent to Bomet County.
According to Mr Patrick Narankaik, the caretaker of Olmaji Building, the move has dealt them a big blow as they have to bear the cost of transporting the waste out of Narok.
Mr Narankaik said they used to pay Sh4,000 for a three-ton exhauster, but they are now paying Sh16,000 for the same, while a seven-ton exhauster is charging Sh25,000.
"Our hotel is in the Narok CBD and we have a lot of people using our facilities. As such, the septic tank fills up quickly. In a week we empty it three times at accost of more than Sh75,000," said Mr Narankaik.
He said there are only two exhausters in the town which sometimes cannot handle the demand from the hoteliers, forcing them to occasionally close the hotel until the septic tanks are emptied.
"All our profits go into disposal of human waste and we find ourselves with no profit at all. We call on the county government to speed up the building of the sewer system which was launched last year," he added.
A spot check by the Nation has revealed that some hoteliers drain raw sewage into the drying Enkare Narok River as they seek to avoid paying for exhauster services.
SEWAGE FLOWS FREELY
While the river is completely dry upstream, ironically, on entering the town, raw sewage flows freely.
Narok Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman David Mbatiany said he has asked the county Roads CEC Joseph Marindany to complete a temporary site for the disposal of the human waste.
"We agreed as traders that the minimum payment for exhauster services should be Sh15,000 but the Sh25,000 is on the higher side and we will schedule a meeting with them to discuss the charges," said Mr Mabtiany.
Mr Mbatiany also said that the Roads CEC had assured him that works for an alternative site are going on and it will be ready by next week.
Narok County Nema Coordinator Patrick Lekenit asked the county government to build a temporary sewer treatment plant before the completion of a Sh1.7 billion treatment plant which is being built.
"The quarry disposal area became a health hazard and we were forced to close it and asked exhauster operators to seek alternative areas to dispose the waste," said Mr Lekenit.