Director of the Department of Waste Management, Marcus Solomon, said the damaged Pockwood Pond incinerator is expected to be back online early next year.
The incinerator sustained a catastrophic fire in February 2021 but had been malfunctioning for years before that. This meant that residents of the West End area of Tortola have been forced to endure the open disposal of waste at the Pockwood Pond dumpsite for years, as well as random occurrences of spontaneous combustion, which has resulted in huge fires at the site.
Solomon disclosed that the incinerator’s transfer arms are expected to be delivered early next year and said one of the four outstanding parts has already been received.
The Director explained that the department is expecting the arrival of the control panel and two more pieces of equipment. He said works will begin to remove the roof of the structure housing the incinerator when the full complement of equipment is on island, followed by the changing of the parts and the testing of the incinerator’s electrical system to ensure the facility is operable.
“It’s projected, if all goes well, with the roof works, electrical works, and internal works that we have to do with the incinerator part, and assuming there are no further changes of parts that have to take place, you should have the incinerator operating between the second and quarter of the year,” Solomon said recently.
“Based on those updates, we anticipate that at least two or three parts should be completed before Christmas and hopefully should be in the country before December or the first or second week in January,” Solomon stated.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Vincent Wheatley said the government has plans for a fail-safe measure.
“The Ministry is currently working on a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a brand new plant and waste strategy. So irrespective of if this works or not, we are moving forward with a brand new strategy for waste in the Virgin Islands,” the Minister said.
Wheatley added, “What is currently happening here is not sustainable and we have to move away from this as quickly as possible. That proposal should be out to the public before the end of the month.”
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