In order to implement the five year sustainable sewage and sanitation infrastructure strategy and facilitation of public private partnership in wastewater management, Lagos State Government last week commissioned Wastewater Management Office's administrative headquarters located along Obasa Street, Off Oba Akra Avenue, Ikeja.
The new office will also be responsible for elucidation of fundamental wastewater sectoral policy reforms that will address all wastewater management concerns in urban, semi urban and rural areas of the state. Furthermore, the office will carry out monitoring, supervision and regulation of all public and private wastewater infrastructure.
It will also conduct research and studies for the development and implementation of environmentally friendly technologies for wastewater management with emphasis on recovery and re-use.
At the ceremony, the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Muiz Banire stated that it is common knowledge that waste or spent water from the community which includes urine, household and commercial wastewater portends great danger to the population if not properly managed.
According to him, such water has the potential of polluting the environment and contaminating the rivers, lakes, oceans and ground water largely depended upon for domestic, municipal, agricultural and industrial use.
"To ensure effective management therefor, the state government has resolved to embark on aggressive infrastructure and resource investment in wastewater and sewage management issues and treatment facilities at all levels in the state.
This is manifest in the adoption of the Sustainable Sewage Sanitation Strategy Policy and State Action Plan for the implementation of Sustainable Sewage Sanitation Strategy (SSSS) with the time lines by the Executive Council.
"As I speak today, the population of Lagos State is over 19 million, and by 2015, the population is expected to hit 25 million. At that time, Lagos State is expected to the third world largest city. This portends greater challenge in terms of sewage management. It is on record for example that 35 million cubic metres per day of wastewater is generated in Africa, and Lagos State alone generates 1.5 million cubic metres per day.
"I must say that the environmental, health and related consequences of a failure to respond to this problem are better imagined than experienced. The challenges before us therefore underscore the speed and commitment with which we have been implementing the resolutions of the world class Sewage Summit held from 2nd-3rd March, 20 10. That singular event provided the opportunity to explore best practices in sewage management.
"The evidence of these concerted efforts in infrastructure provisions will be further manifested in the distribution across the 57 Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas in the next five years.
These include the construction of 10 new wastewater treatment plants across the state, revamping of three existing wastewater treatment plants at Oke-Afa, Abesan and Iponri, a total of 5,250km length of sewers to be laid. The funding for this project will be sourced through a mixture of budgetary provision and private sector partnership.
"Thus, in line with our policy thrust of encouraging private sector participation in the provision of infrastructure, our doors are wide open to local investors and international development partners in this field. I wish to reiterate that enabling environment and special incentives await investors.
It is our resolve to ultimately implement our wastewater and sewage management policy across all tiers of government in the state.
"A full inventory of all existing infrastructure of sewage in Lagos State has been undertaken with a view to partnering with the owners towards resuscitation and rehabilitation of dormant facilities and subsequent integration into the state grids", Dr. Banire stated.
The Group Managing Director, Lagos State Water Corporation, Engr. Shayo Holloway said the establishment of the management office within the corporation is a step in the right direction for accelerated development and sustainable wastewater management in the state, as 80 per cent of water consumed in the state ends up as wastewater.
Engr. Holloway added that with establishment of the new office, the state is set to witness unprecedented transformation of the wastewater sector and a spiral effect for the water sector with reduced risk of contamination of potable water sources.