Panic in Delta community over polluted water

Panic in Delta community over polluted water

By Paul Olayemi

Uneasy calm now pervades Maka Street in Sapele, Delta State following the reported pollution of a water well in the area allegedly caused by a broken underground pipeline owned by an indigenous oil firm, Seplat Petroleum Development Company.

But the company in a recent briefing said though there was no further signs of hydrocarbons in the wells they dug for comparative analysis, “no oil leaks or seepages were traced back to Seplat’s operated facilities,” adding that it is “expediently investigating the root cause of the incident.”

A property owner in the locality, Squadron Leader Rolland Mujakperuo (rtd) said his attention was first drawn to the situation in August when residents complained that the water from their wells was oily and black.  “When I came, I noticed the well was not only blackish but when we fetched the water, it was oily and smelt of fuel,” he said.

“The water from the wells stinks and for some time now we have not been able to drink from it due to oil pollution. The oil has found its way into our wells. After they (Seplat) came to inspect the place, they advise us to lock up the wells, giving us all kind of rules,” Mrs Johnson Anebi, one of the worried residents fumed,

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A source who craved anonymity told this reporter that despite the company’s check on a water well in the area, “the fear of possible fire outbreak in the vicinity is causing people to move out of the area.”

Another resident, Ese Onobrise, also pointed out that his family is planning to relocate to safer zone because of the effect of contamination. “They say we should not make a phone call, or smoke, around the water wells, we as adults can abide by those instructions but what about the kids?” he queried.

Reacting to the development, the chairman, Sapele Okpe community urged residents of the area to be patient as everything is being done to resolve the issue.

He said “it is true that we have traces of oil in dugout wells in Maka Street, we informed Seplat and they arrange a joint inspection of the places, and it was confirmed its a spill…

“We have asked them to do evacuation of the affected wells so as to do a proper analysis of the cause of the spillage and also provide water for the affected persons.”

Though Seplat could not be reached for comment, the company in a recent publication said they were responding to complain from five households at Okpe and Sapele.

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