A water agency has discovered an unidentified gas as it was drilling a borehole in the expansive Kieni constituency, Nyeri county.
The National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation, who had been contracted by the Nyeri county government to drill the borehole, encountered the gas after reaching 250 feet (76 metres).
“We had reached the maximum distance when water started gushing but there was also some gas. We immediately informed the county and other agencies,” said a worker at the site.
The workers have been forced to halt activities at the site in Mwereri village.
Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu accompanied exploration officers from the Geothermal Development Company and the Department of Mining and Geology to the site and collected samples.
The gas is producing a hissing sound as it escapes into the air. It can be heard from over 50 metres away.
The officers suspect that it could be carbon dioxide, butane or methane. They have however ruled out hydrogen sulphide, which is poisonous and corrosive.
Other agencies that have collected samples at the site include the National Oil Corporation and
and the Department of Mining and Geology.
The samples will be taken to a government laboratory for chemical analysis. The officers also visited three other boreholes in the area and collected water samples for testing.
The borehole is just one of many the county is drilling across the expansive Kieni constituency to address water shortage.
Mr Evans Kago, an officer from the Geothermal Development Company said that the gas is not poisonous.
"We have been here for two days and none of us have been affected by the gas. That should reassure residents that they are safe," he said.
The results which will be ready in three days will be submitted to the county government for release to the public.
The tests which will also be conducted by the local water provider Nyeri Water and Sanitation Company (Nyewasco) to ascertain if the water is safe for consumption.
The place has been sealed off even as curious residents flocked the farm since the discovery was made on Monday.