National Water Resource Authority (NWRA) has imposed an MK4, 000, 000.00 fine on Mount Meru Millers for discharging untreated wastewater into public waters.
The company, located in Lumbadzi in Dowa, was found to be violating Section 88 (1) of the Water Resources Act (2013) by allowing untreated wastewater to discharge from the factory to the environment.
On Wednesday, the Malawi Government, through the Malawi Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), announced the closure of the company over noncompliance with environmental regulations.
According to NWRA Public Relations Officer, Masozi Kasambala, in a statement, the authority carried out an inspection at Mount Meru Millers on 8th March 2023, following the circulation of repugnant pictures on social media depicting the discharge of untreated liquid waste from its processing factory.
“The inspection exercise established that there is planned discharge of trade effluent into the environment, thereby causing water pollution, contrary to section 88 (1) of the Water Resources Act,” the NWRA said in a statement.
“Mount Meru Millers does not have any effluent discharge permit under the National Water Resources Authority, contrary to section 92 of the Water Resources Act.”
As a result, Mount Meru Millers has been ordered to pay an MK2, 000, 000.00 fine for discharging untreated wastewater into the environment and MK2, 000, 000.00 for the unauthorized discharge of effluent into the environment. The fines must be paid to the NWRA by March 22, 2023.
“The fines captured in (a) and (b) summing up to MK4, 000,000.00 should be made payable to the National Water Resources Authority by 22nd March 2023,” the statement said.
Additionally, the company has been ordered to cease the indiscriminate discharge of untreated wastewater from its processing factories immediately.
Mount Meru Millers has also been directed to make temporary arrangements with the Lilongwe City Council or identify a service provider to collect both solid and liquid wastes for proper disposal until holding ponds can be constructed on its premises.
“To put in place any other effective remedial measures for the management of wastewater/effluent at all its wastewater treatment facilities, which would be regularly monitored by the NWRA to ensure compliance with the Malawi Effluent Standards and other standards at all times,” the statement added.
The company has also been instructed to construct a wastewater treatment facility and apply for an effluent/wastewater discharge permit, which would be regularly monitored by the NWRA to ensure compliance with the Malawi Effluent Standards and other standards at all times.
“This is a clear message that those who pollute our water resources will face the full force of the law,” the NWRA said.
During the inspection, it was discovered that the company had planned to discharge trade effluent into the environment, causing water pollution, contrary to section 88(1) of the Water Resources Act. Furthermore, Mount Meru Millers did not possess any effluent discharge permit under the National Water Resources Authority, which is contrary to section 92 of the Water Resources Act.
The fines of MK4, 000, 000.00 should be made payable to the National Water Resources Authority by 22nd March 2023. The NWRA has warned that failure to comply with these orders will result in further legal action.