BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – The National Public Health Institute of Liberia, in collaboration with the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, has concluded an exercise to validate a water safety plan for the water facility in Buchanan.
The validation exercise brought together partners in the health and water sectors and was held at the Buchanan City Hall this past weekend. The program allowed participants and stakeholders in the two sectors to review and make their inputs to the draft Buchanan Water Safety Plan.
Last year, NPHIL and its partners began conducting a risk assessment on the water infrastructure of Buchanan to establish the water safety plan. According to NPHIL’s director of environmental and occupational health, Dehwehn Omarley Yeabah, the goal is to reduce the possibility of contamination of the water being supplied to the city.
“This means we go into the facility and check where we think there is a possibility that the water could get contaminated and we correct that and where it doesn’t, we ok it,” Yeabah told The Bush Chicken in an interview in Buchanan. He said the plan will limit disease transmission via through Buchanan’s water supply.
“As soon as we collect all of the inputs of the participants, we are going to get them into the documents, then we come up with the final copy of the Water Safety Plan for Buchanan,” he added.
John Korfeh, a chemist with LWSC, said safe drinking water is key to good health and the plan will help ensure that.
Korfeh said the plan examines activities at the catchment area, ensuring that the water is treated to international standards. He said officials have been checking thoroughly on all the treatment processes and facilities, including storage of the water, the catchment area, and the distribution lines. The goal, he said, is to ensure that the water being provided in Buchanan is safe as the water in Monrovia.
LWSC’s facility in Grand Bassa draws groundwater from six deep wells, unlike in Monrovia, which depends on the St. Paul River. Korfeh said extracting groundwater was quite expensive, but the government and its partners are doing well to get water to the people.
While he did not give a specific number, Korfeh also said the number of homes connected to LWSC’s facility in Buchanan is abysmally fewer than in Monrovia.
“We had low customers from the beginning, but with the new management on board now, they are encouraging the Liberian people to make use of what the government is spending on for their own good with less amount,” he said.
Morris Gono, NPHIL’s water safety officer said the Water Safety Plan, which will also be produced for other LWSC facilities across the country, would help Liberia attract development partners to fund efforts to mitigate risks identified at the various facilities. The Buchanan facility is the first to be targeted by health authorities.
The LWSC facility in Buchanan was rehabilitated last year by the government and is currently supplying water to residents of Buchanan. Since operations began last year, officials have been expanding service to various parts of the city, but it is not clear how many customers LWSC has in Buchanan. Officials have said that the facility is capable of providing a maximum of 150,000 gallons of water a day.
Featured photo by Sampson David