Threats of underground water pollution imminent in Nigeria?

The title of the article below which was published in the Daily Trust of August 26, 2015 and written by Alex Abutu based on what Mr. Michael Ale, AWDROP National President told Daily Trust, sounds alarmist as its scope is very limited compared to its content.
Groundwater pollution in Nigeria cannot and should not be mainly ascribed to the activities of foreign borehole drilling companies. It is due to a number of causes – poor borehole design by incompetent drilling companies, point-source and non-point-source pollution, unregulated waste disposal practices, unscientific design and siting of sanitary landfills, improper decommissioning of non-productive or failed boreholes, unsupervised drilling activities of oil prospecting companies, etc. to mention A few. fairly detailed summary is contained in the table provided by Canter(1981) which lists 3 major sources of groundwater pollution – Waste disposal sources, Nondisposal sources and Depletion. Please click below for the  table on major sources of Groundwater Pollution.

Major Sources of Groundwater Pollution
Major Sources of Groundwater Pollution
The article focuses on the following:
• “large format equipment which is inimical to our environment”;
• Drilling of large number of boreholes;
• Poor design of boreholes that allow infiltration of overburden water into the aquifer through the screening of the overburden casing without appropriate grouting;
• Foreign drillers operating without license;
• Too many boreholes and well interference.
These are sweeping statements which are difficult to substantiate, for example, that using large equipment is unfavorable, detrimental or adverse to our environment in Nigeria. Furthermore, drilling many boreholes per day, if scientifically located and properly designed and supervised should not cause any problem with respect to well interference or pollution.
Currently, the National Water Law has not been enacted. However, in Part X of the draft National Water Resources Act of 2011, reference is made to the Code of the Regulation of Domestic Boreholes which was developed by the National Water Resources Institute (NWRI) and the Ministry. This Code’s section 4 is on Legal Consideration.
Section 4.1 is on Drilling Permit which states “No well shall be constructed unless the owner is in possession of a valid permit to do so … Permit shall be given by relevant Agencies designated by the Minister of Water Resources.” This is fine but has no legal backing until the Water Resources Act is enacted.
Section 4.2 of the Code is on Water Well Driller’s License: Section 4.2a states “A water well driller’s license shall be obtained from NWRI on application. Section 4.2b states “No person shall construct a well for the abstraction or monitoring of groundwater or for research if the person does not have a driller’s license granted in accordance with the provisions of this code. The requirements of the driller’s license shall be applicable to any person, company, corporation, or other entity engaged in the business or occupation that involves construction of water wells that may penetrate water-bearing strata (including constructing water wells, geothermal systems and environmental monitoring wells.”
Section 4.2.1.1.1 gives an exemption to the stipulation of the Code as stated above. As mentioned earlier, the National Water Resources Act is yet to be enacted, the Code is part of the Act, consequently the alarm raised by the article concerning foreign companies using unlicensed drillers cannot be resolved at this point in time.
Comments by DEPO ADENLE.
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Threats of underground water pollution imminent
By Alex Abutu , Daily Trust, Aug 26 2015

FemaleDriller
A lady driller supervising a borehole drilling recently.
Nigeria is facing an imminent danger of underground water pollution if the activities of foreigners drilling companies are left unchecked, the Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners has alerted.
The association said at the rate the foreign companies, mostly from Asia, are operating, the nation may run out of clean drinking water in the nearest future. “Asians have infiltrated our environment with large format equipment which is inimical to our environment.”
Mr. Michael Ale, AWDROP National President, told Daily Trust that: “An average Asian drilling company operating in the country drills close to three boreholes in a day and we have about 50 of such drilling companies scattered around Nigeria with each having at least four rigs. With this calculation, an average of 400 boreholes are drilled daily and this is enormous.”
“Another major issue is the fact that the underground water is gradually being polluted by the design of drilling embarked by the Asians as most of their designs allow infiltration of overburden water into the underground aquifer through the screening of the overburden casing without appropriate grouting. We are not talking of the cheap materials used during their installation. This is sad,” Ale added.
Investigation by Daily Trust in Abuja and environs showed that there is an upsurge in the number of foreigners in the borehole drilling business.
In Masaka, a suburb near Abuja, numerous signposts advertising the foreign drilling companies abound with some engaging in promos to woo customers.
Ale noted that most of the foreign drillers are not licensed to drill, wondering who allowed them to operate in Nigeria. “Our trained drillers and experts are jobless. So the environmental, social and economic importance is being maligned by these foreigners.”
According to him, many Nigerians who drill boreholes have adequate knowledge of the terrain but the foreigners do not. “Borehole needs to last for a lifetime but conduct a search on many boreholes drilled now, it is glaring that they are affecting one another because of the approach of the drillers, many of whom are quacks that have infiltrated the industry.”
“Some people have argued that the Asians made borehole affordable to most Nigerians but is it affordability or sustainability that we should be talking about? Yes their borehole can be affordable for 2-3 years but will pack up with time. It may be affordable but the client gets contaminated water because of the drill design,” he added.
=======================================================
Threats of underground water pollution imminent
By Alex Abutu , Daily Trust, Aug 26 2015
A lady driller supervising a borehole drilling recently.
Nigeria is facing an imminent danger of underground water pollution if the activities of foreigners drilling companies are left unchecked, the Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners has alerted.
The association said at the rate the foreign companies, mostly from Asia, are operating, the nation may run out of clean drinking water in the nearest future. “Asians have infiltrated our environment with large format equipment which is inimical to our environment.”
Mr. Michael Ale, AWDROP National President, told Daily Trust that: “An average Asian drilling company operating in the country drills close to three boreholes in a day and we have about 50 of such drilling companies scattered around Nigeria with each having at least four rigs. With this calculation, an average of 400 boreholes are drilled daily and this is enormous.”
“Another major issue is the fact that the underground water is gradually being polluted by the design of drilling embarked by the Asians as most of their designs allow infiltration of overburden water into the underground aquifer through the screening of the overburden casing without appropriate grouting. We are not talking of the cheap materials used during their installation. This is sad,” Ale added.
Investigation by Daily Trust in Abuja and environs showed that there is an upsurge in the number of foreigners in the borehole drilling business.
In Masaka, a suburb near Abuja, numerous signposts advertising the foreign drilling companies abound with some engaging in promos to woo customers.
Ale noted that most of the foreign drillers are not licensed to drill, wondering who allowed them to operate in Nigeria. “Our trained drillers and experts are jobless. So the environmental, social and economic importance is being maligned by these foreigners.”
According to him, many Nigerians who drill boreholes have adequate knowledge of the terrain but the foreigners do not. “Borehole needs to last for a lifetime but conduct a search on many boreholes drilled now, it is glaring that they are affecting one another because of the approach of the drillers, many of whom are quacks that have infiltrated the industry.”
“Some people have argued that the Asians made borehole affordable to most Nigerians but is it affordability or sustainability that we should be talking about? Yes their borehole can be affordable for 2-3 years but will pack up with time. It may be affordable but the client gets contaminated water because of the drill design,” he added.

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