BVI News

Pockwood Pond incinerator still not repaired over 2 months later, ministry seeks $$

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Petrona Davies

A little more than two months have elapsed since the major fire at the waste facility in Pockwood Pond. But, the facility’s incinerator is still not functional because no repairs have been done to date.

The incinerator has not been repaired because of unavailability of funds.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Petrona Davies, told BVI News on Thursday that the ministry is in the processes of seeking approval from Cabinet for funds to be released for the repair project.

“We are trying to get it (funding) ahead of the budget because it’s urgent. So, I can’t really comment other than to say they’re major [repair] contracts so, obviously, Cabinet’s approval is required. [But] we are working with the Ministry of Finance to try to get that fast-tracked,” she said.

Based on technical assessments that have been carried out at the waste facility, Davies said the critical part to getting the incinerator operational is to get electrical repairs done and to replace a part of the incinerator known as the control panel box.

She also said however that the ministry must go through the required procurement procedures in light of the scope of the repairs to be done to the facility.

Waste still being landfilled

While the facility remains out of commission, the Department of Waste Management is using a landfill to dispose of the piles of waste, which would have otherwise been incinerated.

“We don’t do open burning on Tortola as part of our waste management, so it is basically landfilling – burying and covering [the garbage] which of course we want to reduce that as much as possible. So we are working to see how quickly we can get the incinerator back up to deal with that volume of waste,” she said.

She said the ministry is also working to divert as much waste coming to the waste facility by roughly 60 percent through recycling.

“We are working on several strategies at the same time to be able to reduce the pressure on Pockwood Pond,” she said.

Long-term plan

The Permanent Secretary said the ministry has hired a consulting firm to assist them in refining the territory’s Waste Management strategy.

They are also looking at the potential options for a new landfill site.

“The department is working very hard to see how we can address the problem comprehensively going forward,” she said.

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28 Comments

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  1. Just Ice says:

    They absolutely DO use open burning as a way to dispose of waste and the people of West End having been getting poisoned for YEARS!!! There has been an open fire at the site EVERY SINGLE DAY since January 16th 2018.
    Where is the scrubber that has been paid for?
    I hope the electorate remembers the lazy minister who presided over this department at the polls.
    I wish the department luck in their plea for funds

    Like 26
    • Reality will hit sooner or later says:

      I have been saying this for years and fully agree! Nobody is interested in this travesty! What is simply amazing is how quiet the people of the Western and Northern Communities are on this as it impacts not only West End, but Cappoons Bay, Carrot Bay and Long Bay.

      “Such pollution can cause lung and neurological diseases, and have been linked to heart attacks and some cancers.”

      https://www.climatecentral.org/news/where-trash-is-a-burning-problem-17973

      Like 22
      • Reporter says:

        @Reality will hit sooner or later, you are on point. 20 years ago while I was on a shot stay at Caneel Bay Hotel, St. John, I went on a tour one day with quite a few others. At some point we stop to have a drink at the local hill top bar, (location not actual name). While rolling again, the smoke and blaze from the Pock wood Dump Dump could be seen smoking and burning in the distance; but none of the 8 or 9 other folks knew what it was and wanted to know. Being BVIslander and involved with tourism marketing I kept quiet and Embarrassed and wished for their interest to move to something else. Today perhaps being older and wiser I would have explain the situation; using economics to explain; that we simply don’t have the Finances…and Why.

        At least you folks in the 2nd have a Scrubber, paid for. Perhaps the 300,000 PRIORITIZED for the voting machines could have been postponed until next election; but no; the health of the 2nd district doesn’t rank that important.

        We in the 9th district never, ever had a excinorator. The garbage was burnt for several years in the area of our Historic Copper Mine but moved to the area of another tourist related location in the Gorda Peak area, where it burned every day and into the night, A Bull dozer or Himac is used to push it out and later down the hill overlooking Gorda Sound; another up and coming villa/vacation home location. Because of its central location between the two districts, depending on the wind direction they each get their share. Among the stuff burnt include the waste of the 2 boat yards on the Island, (resins, thinners, paint fiber glass and the elements that used with it, as well as the stuff pumped from sewers (villas and private homes). At least the The Pockwood Dump is getting some air time. Gorda Peak Dump site Burning is never mentioned; or an alternative to burning. When it does gets a little mention, usually during Campaign Season, that’s all that happens. It gets mentioned; and like they say in other parts, “the Can gets kicked down the road”

        Like 11
        Dislike 1
      • Soo says:

        My dear Reality will hit sooner or later, Miss Davies only coming out now with her hog wash saying. I was and am tired of calling both solid waste and the Ministry of Health and getting no response from either on how is this problem going to be solved. What does she mean that “We don’t do open burning on Tortola as part of our waste management”. What are they doing now? Is it not open burning 24/7? We are suffering on this end of the Island and no one has ever considered to address the problem or responded until now because it is Talk Season.

    • Albion says:

      It is a rare window into the complete financial mismanagement of Government.

      A scrubber was paid for years ago but never arrived. No one seems to care. Certainly no one is making any effort.

      A fire damaged our incinerator. No one has said so, but I think we can assume that – as with everything owned by Government – nobody thought it was prudent to take out insurance for industrial accidents, and so the taxpayer has to pay for this negligence.

      But because of the dysfunctionality of government, this couldn’t be achieved before the House of Assembly dissolved, and so now there is no prospect of this even being considered until after the election.

      It is enough to make Jeremiah weep.

      Like 19
  2. Devon says:

    Why isn’t this a priority right now ?
    More important than any poltical party or election !
    RDA please take over the pockwood pond site before it gets any worse !

    Like 24
    Dislike 1
    • Just Ice says:

      I wish the RDA would prioritise this instead of feel good projects and drone pictures..
      A wrecked boat on the shoreline isnt killing anyone but this toxic smoke IS.
      The Recovery and Developement Plan has no timeline or assigned funding for most of its projects so you might aswell put it on the shelf along with Harry Potter and the rest of the childrens fiction

      Like 8
      Dislike 2
  3. EU citizen says:

    “We don’t do open burning on Tortola as part of our waste management”
    Yes you do. Everyone can see the flames and the toxic smoke.
    Not good for people west of the dump.
    People east of the dump don’t seem to care much.
    Sad.

    Like 26
    Dislike 1
  4. What!!! says:

    “We don’t do open burning on Tortola” LIES !’n

    Like 22
  5. Just Ice says:

    Oh and what a surprise yet another consulting firm !!!!..who are they? what are their qualifications? and how much of the mauger waste disposal budget will they eat up

  6. No nonsense says:

    And the power house government of the day have the heart to collect $10 to outsiders for environmental tax. Them can see and hear the tour buses as they point it out.Dem think that that is the anointment for the people in the west. That’s why we are untouchable

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  7. Serious says:

    Let us be real about the state of affairs in this Territory. Greed and selfishness is what has us in this predicament! Whether you want to admit it or not, these issues are not because we had incompetent people, it’s because we had a group of people that couldn’t stand each other from 2015 until now. Nevermind they ran as a team, they could not stand each other and it manifested in their last term. I’m willing to give NDP a chance under Myron’s leadership because he has been proven to be a doer, but this is just for all of you that are calling for coalition Government, that’s what we had for the last 4 years so think before you vote! We need a team of people that are willing to work as a TEAM and work FOR THE PEOPLE not themselves. We should never be in the mess we are in right now and we need people who can hit the ground running, people not afraid to make bold decisions, people who understand what’s needed to move this Territory forward. Vote wisely on 25 February because our future depends heavily on it.

    Like 1
    Dislike 4
    • Biggie says:

      Walwyn has m——— public spending.

      The Chief of Police said recently that we wasn’t sure if Myron was “ignorant, incompetent or engaging in illegal behavior.”

      We don’t need to even consider electing a dummy or a crook. There are lots of other qualified people to think about.

  8. baygirl says:

    There is a difference between open burning and fire caused by spontaneous combustion, as often happens at dumpsites. Either way this project needs to be funded urgently.

    • On fire with Rage over my health says:

      You can try to disguise it all you like. Spontaneous combustion takes place because of lack of PROACTIVE PLANNING in the first place.

      In any event, when spontaneous combustion takes place, what does it result in, be it intentional or not, it results in open air burning of trash.

      More and more, the Government is confirming that that dump site was deliberately set on fire because as recent as yesterday a reasonable size blaze was billowing smoke into West End, Zion Hill and over the hill to Long Bay. Are you trying to tell us that that fire is indistinguisable?? Is that the eternal flame that cannot be put out? And every day someone adds more and more rubbish. The site is not adequately controlled and every thing imaginable has been burning in that site from fridge, computers, small boats, car parts, fiberglass items, you name it. It is unacceptable and pathetic what the Government is doing to the First District. They should realize that many of their constituents live there as well. I for one am not going anywhere on Elections day until that dump site is removed, which may mean that I will never go back to the polls ever again.

      The world needs to get attention of this, only then perhaps it may be taken seriously.

  9. Serious says:

    This is a very serious matter.People is slowly getting poison. People is inhaling all type of toxins and germs on a daily.

  10. Political Observer (PO) says:

    This is a public health and safety issue; it follows closely on the heels of protecting life as a top priority. Clearly, the MHSS prior and current didnot/don’t see this as a top priority. The Premier should have declared this an emergency and should not be dragging foot waiting on Cabinet. If he didn’t have the authority, he should have the apprised Cabinet that it is an emergency and that funds needs to be appropriated urgently from the Reserve Fund.

    Moreover, given that parts are not readily available locally (there are no just in time delivery), the department should have a high/low inventory limit i of critical parts on the shelf. This practice should be utilized not only for incinerator but also for other critical equipment and systems. This should be a standard maintenance and operations practice to minimize critical equipment down time. Further, it should also be done not only for critical parts but also for long lead time items.

    The BVI is a remote locale and not in close proximity to distribution sources. Its primary mode for import is ship. As such, it must carry a larger inventory than other locales. Let’s get ah done!

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  11. Really? says:

    What kind of kool aid is Petrona Davies drinking. Are we so gullible?

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  12. Talk is Cheap! says:

    Fed up of breathing in unhealthy air in the West. This needs to hit CNN as NO ONE seems to care!!! The people in these areas should not be made to pay NHI. The greedy politicians should pay!!!

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  13. Non believer says:

    Who is she trying to fool, since last year May the coxheath dump smoking and killing we in the west with smoke, she and her ministry had big meeting with us and made big promises and it still smoking. Now The plant burn up and pockwood pond hill smoking too. Lord help us in west end. That lady and her ministry has to start doing their work and stop the Talking

    Like 6
    Dislike 2
  14. Haha says:

    Keep voting for the popular politicians instead of the ones that are actually producing results. Communications and work is the second most important Ministry besides finance. We need someone that is an action man or woman, ironic isn’t it? Now for the facts. Roads are terrible, internet pricing and service terrible. Water delivery terrible, as I type water is off. Electricity management is terrible. We are too small of a territory with a small population to be experiencing so may power outages. If the minister of works was employed in the private sector he would have been fired a long time ago.

  15. Maybe says:

    Maybe we need to go back to the electrical contractor who was paid $ 1 million to wire up the incinerator after it lay around in pieces for 6 years….

  16. Concerned says:

    I have experienced major congestion since I arrived last week. I swim daily and when I come up for air the smell and fumes they kill me. Everyday. My eyes I can hardly open, I cannot breathe, I am very congested. Pollution apparent. And very unhealthy. I don’t think a lot of the people can sense this., and think it’s normal. Sad, but true.
    I stay in the west end. This burning is a major concern, all fumes blowing this way.
    Please help.
    I can’t stop my nose from running., and sneeze all day.
    It’s killing people.
    I’m going on my 8th day here, and when the smoke starts, I need to get inside. Makes me sick.

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