According to SURCON, the increasing cases of building collapse across the country may not be mainly as a result of human errors or structural defects on the buildings, but may be due to weak soil on which such structures are erected.
The Registrar, SURCON, Mr. Suleiman Hassan, told journalists in Abuja that findings by the council had shown that the massive drilling of boreholes nowadays was posing great risks to buildings constructed around locations where the boreholes were drilled.
He explained that the machines used to drill boreholes operate by sucking the ground water that hold the soil together, adding that when this continued for a prolonged period, the soil would lose its compactness and might not be able to support heavy structures.
Hassan said, “I had this problem with my neighbour in Gombe and I worked very hard to convince him that he shouldn’t do a borehole. As a result, I had to pipe water from my house to his own house because it is not that safe to have too many boreholes on one street. It is a problem or can create problems because it is risky.
“This is because you are sucking the underground water, and when you do so for a long time, the soil won’t have the strength to continue to support structures erected on it. Once it gets extreme, these structures may have no choice than to give way and will eventually collapse.
“This is why we used to have waterworks all over the place in the past cross the country. What the government was doing then was that it would go very far to get water for the populace. For instance, in Zaria, as far back as the 1970s, they started the waterworks; and in Kaduna, they pumped treated water from the River Kaduna. The same thing was done in Gombe, Katsina and Kano by the various waterworks.”
Hassan, however, noted that there were exemptions, as some areas might need boreholes, but explained that water from boreholes should be treated once in a while.
He said, “For some of the places where you can’t help it, definitely you can drill a borehole. However, another thing is that 80 per cent of those who dig boreholes in their houses do not take the water for test and this is also not healthy. This is why many people fall sick because if you check it, there is much proximity between their toilets and boreholes.
“Now, since the machine for boreholes suck water from the soil, there is every tendency for it to suck water from whatever source that is close, whether from the toilet water or any other water. So, these are issues that we don’t really take into consideration many times.”