NEARLY 80% of boreholes in Marondera, including one at the provincial hospital, are contaminated and their water is unsafe for consumption, experts have warned.
By JAIROS SAUNYAMA
Following the cholera outbreak in Harare, which has killed 36 people nationally and infected over 8 000 others, Marondera Municipality in conjunction with the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) last week conducted water tests on public boreholes dotted across the town, where it emerged that the borehole near the Marondera Provincial Hospital, the biggest health institution in Mashonaland East, is contaminated by corliforms.
Coliforms are a broad class of bacteria found in the environment, including faecal matter and other warm-blooded animals.
The presence of coliform bacteria in drinking water may indicate a possible presence of harmful, disease-causing organisms.
Another contaminated borehole is situated at Nyameni Clinic.
About 11 of the 14 public boreholes tested are contaminated, the tests showed.
EMA provincial spokesperson Astas Mabwe said the tests conducted at the agency’s laboratories revealed that there was no faecal contamination in the 11 public boreholes, while four of them tested positive for coliforms.
“Of the 11 boreholes, none of them had evidence of faecal contamination, but total coliforms in excess of 0/100ml of sample were, however, detected in four boreholes,” Mabwe said.
“While the detected coliforms are not of faecal origin, the presence of coliforms in these boreholes indicates some degree of environmental contamination. However, the sources of contamination for these boreholes require further investigation.”
According to EMA, the two other contaminated boreholes are in Dombotombo (Rugare) and Cherutombo high-density suburbs.
“One of the contaminated water sources is found opposite Marondera Provincial Hospital main entrance, while another one is at Nyameni Clinic,” Mabwe added.
“The two other boreholes are in the high-density suburbs of Dombotombo and Cherutombo. We recommend chemical treatment of borehole water drawn from the four sources identified prior to use. Moreover, we are still investigating and identifying more contaminations.”
The province has recorded 17 cholera cases since the outbreak in Harare on September 6.