|An aerial view of the Kafue river on the Copperbelt|
The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has completed its investigation on seven mining firms on the Copperbelt over last week's pollution of the Kafue River.
ZEMA Northern Region Manager Gift Sikaundi says the investigations team finished collecting samples from all suspicious sites and handed them over to three separate laboratories.
"We have handed over the samples to the Water Resources Management Authority laboratory in Lusaka, the Alfred Knight laboratory in Kitwe and the Nkana Water and Sewerage Company laboratory in Kitwe. We expect the results after seven days," said Mr Sikaundi during an interview at his Ndola office.
He has disclosed that during the investigation, ZEMA inspectors collected samples from various dams, reservoirs and streams in Chingola and Mufulira.
On Thursday last week, ZEMA launched investigations against the seven mining firms after sulphate was detected in the Kafue River the source of water supply to Kitwe, Kalulushi and Chambeshi.
The seven mining firms all discharge water into the Mwambashi stream which eventually ends up in the Kafue river.
The companies being investigated are Konkola Copper Mines, Mopani Copper Mines, NFC Africa Mining, Chambeshi Copper Smelter, Chambeshi Metals, Sino Metals and Bollore Africa Mining.
The investigations team took four days to collect samples from all water reservoirs and dams where the firms dispose off their effluents.
The discovery of the sulphate on Monday last week forced Nkana Water and Sewerage Company to shutdown its water supply to its customers for two days, leaving Kitwe's over 500,000 residents without clean running water.
The supply was only restored after the utility neutralised the sulphate.
The pollution is believed to have happened in the Mwambashi stream in Chingola District.
The investigators further believe that the contaminated water flowed from the Mwambashi stream to the Kafue river where Nkana Water and Sewerage Company detected it.