“By ensuring compliance on proper sanitation on sewage and solid waste disposal, we could indirectly reduce the rate at which our families get ill..,” says Engr. Yusuf Majolagbe, an Assistant Chief Chemical Engineer, Lagos State Wastewater Management Office, in this piece on sewage management and Community health.

Eng. Yusuf Majolagbe

Whenever we go to the toilet, clean up, flush the toilet, wash our hands thoroughly we assume all is fine and never worry about where it ends up or the resultant effect on our environment.

In fact, ensuring proper sewage treatment and disposal is as important for protecting community health as drinking clean water, garbage collection, and immunization programme.

Pollution from septic tanks can spread diseases and contaminate drinking water sources. But most Nigerians give little thought to what happens to their septic tanks, whether they are filled up, undersized or dilapidated. Such lackadaisical attitude often lead to spillages which affect the availability of safe and clean water for use.

High water tables are a nuisance that many property owners must face. The water tables lie underground and is the level at which the soil and gravel are completely saturated with water.

A highwater table is especially common in low lying areas, like Lekki, Ikoyi, Apapa, Victoria Island e.t.c where the soil is not well drained. In fact, digging just two feet of hole, you are already in water.

Hence, they cannot have a soak away pit. This makes septic tank soak away system not a good option in such areas leading to pollution of the ground water as well as weakening the foundation of a building. These areas do not have a choice than to use a sewage treatment plant.

For areas with low water table like Alimosho and environs septic tanks and soak away system are commonly in use. These have their own limitations. Toxic contents of such can pollute our ground water through various means if not well managed.

Citizens responsibility

As good citizens and residents of Lagos, who desire to protect the health of the unborn generation, we must endeavour to contact the sewage haulage truck owners to evacuate our sewage before they are filled up while ensuring rehabiltaion from time to time if any form of spillages/leakages are observed.


It is also pertinent to note that proper construction of a septic tank is also very key during development of a new site to prevent future collapse which could be unsafe and fatal.

Avoid construction over the septic tanks to prevent collapse by virtue of static and dynamic load. Ensure your septic tank is constructed with concrete not blocks except for the soak away tank which could be made of block works.

Benefit of proper sewage management

Once our sewage is properly managed by having a sewage treatment plant on the Island with high water table area and prompt evacuation of filled septic tank on the mainland with lower water table, it is then we could have a cleaner environment that translates to improved public health.

Hence, residents shall continue to receive inspection from Environmental Health Officers working at the local Government and State Government levels to enforce for improved sanitation.

Culprits served

Recently, officials of the Environmental Nuisance Service Unit of Lagos State Wastewater Management Office were at 7, Olabisi Balogun Street, off Aladelola Street, Ikosi- ketu, to serve an abatement notice.

Occupiers of the 3-storey building, were causing nuisance to the environment by pumping sewage into the drainage with the aid of a pumping machine connected to the septic tank.

So, just do the right thing to avoid being caught by the law or being exploited by fake inspectors that masquerade as government officials.

By ensuring compliance on proper sanitation on sewage and solid waste disposal, we could indirectly reduce the rate at which our families get ill by not having malaria, typhoid, cholera as well as other water and sanitation related diseases. This helps us save our health care bills and cost of getting clean water for use.

Health is wealth.

Engr Yusuf Majolagbe
Assistant Chief Chemical Engineer
Lagos State Wastewater Management Office (Laswamo)

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