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Concerns raised due to non-functioning incinerator @ Pockwood Pond

- Manager of Department of Waste Management Greg R. Massicote said incinerator will be out for a few more days as component is being brought in
The pile-up of garbage as seen yesterday April 27, 2016. The incinerator at Pockwood Pond is currently not functioning. Photo: VINO
The incinerator at the Pockwood Pond facility. It is currently not working due to a damaged component. Photo: VINO
The incinerator at the Pockwood Pond facility. It is currently not working due to a damaged component. Photo: VINO
Manager of the Department of Waste Management, Greg R. Massicote confirmed that the incinerator was not functioning because of a vital component of it being out of commission. Photo: VINO
Manager of the Department of Waste Management, Greg R. Massicote confirmed that the incinerator was not functioning because of a vital component of it being out of commission. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – A member of the public who asked not to be identified yesterday April 27, 2016 complained about the current condition of the waste management facility at Pockwood Pond which the person said is an ideal situation for the spreading of disease, but is also concerned about sensitive materials taken to the incinerator by trust companies to be destroyed.

The individual, who is a staff of a trust company which would need to destroy records after some years, was shocked to learn that the incinerator has not been working for a period of time.

“We destroy records over six years and the sensitive material is taken to Pockwood Pond and put directly into the furnace for security (all the trust companies do this). I arrived with a car full of documents to find that the incinerator has not been working for a month! So every night the garbage is collected then thrown onto a heap at Pockwood Pond,” said the source.

In addition to the compromising of sensitive documents, the person is also concerned that the state of the incinerator could lead to the proliferation of diseases and affect persons residing in the area.

“The mosquitoes and flies surrounding us are getting dirtier day by day, open piles of garbage cause the air, soil and water to become contaminated and can cause serious health problems such as Cholera, Cancer, Typhoid, Dysentery, Dengue Fever, Salmonella, Diarrhoea, Skin diseases, Stomach ulcers, mutated insects, rats, plague."

The source continued that the garbage will also rot, ferment and vapourise into the air causing acid rain. “This not just a garbage crisis but a  health crisis. If there are heavy rains it will make it far worse. In addition to health hazards on land toxic waste will definitely leech into the earth and Sir Francis Drake Channel... a trip to DMV could be a health risk!”

The person claimed that the workers at the plant have no idea what is the situation. "The Minister for Communications and Works and Minister for Health need to be taken to task. What is the problem? How long will garbage pile up?"
“Didn’t we spend millions on a new incinerator which has yet to see action? Has the public been notified to try and recycle and reduce waste for the moment? And avoid dumping if possible?” the source asked.

The concerned individual said that despite the best efforts of man the main attraction of Tortola is its beauty and the garbage situation threatens that.

“Garbage or health issues will bring the tourism industry to its knees. Fundamental services like water, sewerage and refuse disposal are critical to the economy. Our Ministers seem to be busy with their new cars and houses whilst the basic services crumble!” the resident said.

Component damaged - Greg R. Massicote 

Manager of the Department of Waste Management, Greg R. Massicote confirmed that the incinerator was not functioning because of a vital component of it being out of commission.

He said this has been the case for a number of weeks and this will continue as the component has already been ordered but is yet to arrive in the territory.

“The current state of the site right now is not the usual [state]. What happened is that we had our usual minor mechanical failure with the incinerator and it has been down for a few days now and it may be down for a few more,” he said.

“So we are trying to have the process expedited and have the incinerator repaired so that the conditions down there could go back to some form of normalcy.

According to Massicote, the damaged component is not something that could be readily stocked or acquired from a shelf. It has to be manufactured and then installed by the manufacturers to ensure it is properly working. Further, he said personnel from the supplier will come to the territory to ensure that the requisite knowledge is transferred to the persons operating the incinerator.

23 Responses to “Concerns raised due to non-functioning incinerator @ Pockwood Pond”

  • Observer2 (28/04/2016, 08:53) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why has the Department or, better, the Ministry, not come out and announced this? Why did it take a member of the public to go to VINO to get this aired? Where is the "Government in the sunshine"?
    • Wes (28/04/2016, 21:51) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Minister say your complaints are irrelevant. I guess this must have filtered down the chain
  • too hot (28/04/2016, 09:03) Like (14) Dislike (2) Reply
    This is a disgrace, people in St John are threatening law suits and its getting some international coverage which will not do our tourist industry any good. Bring a qualified person in to run this operation safely and efficiently . The populations health is at stake and the countries environment.Tourist being taken to West End are appalled by the horrendous site.
  • SMH (28/04/2016, 09:12) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
    Bad management which is the case with ALL Government equipment. BVIEC, Water Plants, Incinerators, PWD Equipment. Then we blame parties and Government Officials? How can people collect pay checks biweekly and let these vital areas in their own country go down the drain?
  • just asking.. (28/04/2016, 09:50) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    can the NDP get anything right?
    • @just asking (28/04/2016, 10:01) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
      It isnt the NDP running solid waste more specifically the Incinerator. Every department has a head and people working in it. When do these people who get paid on the 15th and 30th every month be held accountable. Everything is NDP or VIP they dont run the departments. This is getting so annoying and stupid. Hold he need to be held accountable and stop blaming the politicians.
      • Exactly (28/04/2016, 10:53) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
        This is why the employees, particularly the senior employees do not give a damn! Why? They are NOT held accountable, only the Ministers/Parties are blamed when things go wrong. Many of these people are on the street busy running their private businesses or just chilling while the country goes to shit. They wait out their 25 years and get pension for the rest of their lives for just doing absolute nothingness!! We are a set of backward fools here and won't learn until it's too late. We are worried about so much nonsense but look at how our backyard looks?
  • chinese connection (28/04/2016, 10:02) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    are those parts coming from China?
  • VINO Please! (28/04/2016, 10:04) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    Please, please don't let this story slide. We need to know what has happened, what is happening (or not happening), and what can and will be done to stop this toxic state of affairs. I would also like to hear from an environmental scientist on the effects of this failure up to now.

    Don't mind hearing about this EVERY DAY until it's handled!

  • fraser do something (28/04/2016, 10:25) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Do not allow the 3rd district to become the dumping ground for the BVI. No more Garbage, derelict vehicles, sewage, public cemetery, derelict vessels etc etc.
  • yellow (28/04/2016, 11:58) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    hope they do not victimize the man Grey for speaking to VINO and the truth
  • Music (28/04/2016, 12:23) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    I thought we had TWO incinerators? Are they both out of commission?.
  • shocking (28/04/2016, 14:36) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    If the incinerator has been down for a month how long does it take to get a part? I also thought we invested millions in a new incinerator?
    • jus sayn (28/04/2016, 18:04) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      @exactly and shocking
      Yes some dept heads need to be more accountable BUT when the PS and Minister dont put $ there WHAT can the D H do ? It is shocking for a month !! Where are these parts coming from ??
      Lets guess ?
  • Eagle Eye (28/04/2016, 15:23) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    And the scent is terrible in the area. Yet bviec manager holding back increment
  • watching (28/04/2016, 18:14) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    No wonder the cancer rate is so high... especially West End . How about recycling some of the stuff like used oil and grease which just gets burned . Just takes a little effort and planning . Maybe the govt can get one thing done without having to fill their pockets. Do something right for our country and show the next generation that there is hope and everything does not have to be " whats in it for me " ? We are one country ... one planet
  • VG Dump Site (28/04/2016, 20:31) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Something need to be done on Virgin Gorda about the burning of garbage at the dump site. The smoke does be so thick that you can't even see the road while driving to North Sound and the scent enough to pass you out. Nobody saying a word about that situation over there and the government doesn't seem to care about people health. We need to bring them politician over and give them a tour while the garbage is burning let them get a dose for themselves.
  • Bunny (28/04/2016, 22:08) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Whether you like it or not... this government seems to have its head off its body. After voting for the NDP in 2011 and 2015 I can say I really and truly lost confidence that things are going in the right direction.
  • Jules Winnfield (28/04/2016, 22:23) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    There's a song by a female dj in St. Thomas, who saw a woman with a man who look good, and asked this lady if she could borrow the man for one night. The lady lent her her man, but in the middle of the night she called the lady, and told her: Tuh tek him back, because him nah perform. NDP is just like this, the Government have NOT perform they got the country dead!!! the time has come for teh voters to say tuh tek dem back.
  • Angry from Purcell (28/04/2016, 22:40) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The new 10 tonne incinerator came online in 2012 and tripled the monthly cost, $18k a month electricity and $6k propane. Presumable the old incinerator was mothballed due to cost? There should be a back up plan, (such as use the old plant). Is there no warranty? why didn't the supplier rush to resolve the issue?
  • robert (29/04/2016, 04:22) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    We now know where the Panama papers information come from....and more to come next week. All happening on our doorstep. NDP culpable!
  • Political Observer (29/04/2016, 05:48) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    If the incinerator, the prime means of processing waste on Tortola, has not been operational for over a month, this situation posed a public health and safety risk. Are there not two incinerators? And if no why not and if yes why are both down? Given the remoteness from suppliers and the long lead time to procure critical parts, is there a high/low limit on critical parts? Is there an aggressive preventative maintenance programme in place and is there proper oversight that it is being performed? Do not expect what you do not inspect. Are the staff adequately trained to effectively operate and maintain the critical plant? Are parts readily available for the incinerator from suppliers or are they have to be manufactured as demanded due to plant being dated(obsolete)? How old is the plant and what is the design life?

    Moreover, a friend asked why the garbage is not buried instead of incinerated. Burying requires significant acreage. In larger countries and locales, landfills can consist of hundred of acres and be be in operation for a 100 years or more. Closed landfills have to be capped and managed to control methane gas. Further, landfills have limited uses after closure.

    Moreover, is the by produt from the incinerator being used to generate electricity. And if no why not? Can anything in the BVI under government direct control be operated efficiently, effectively and economically? More accountability and greater expectation must be demanded.
  • Hmm (02/05/2016, 00:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I too visited the incinerator a few weeks ago for the first time. I was absolutely flabbergasted at the condition of the site. The way ALL the waste was piled into one heap and there was an obvious lack of categorization of waste... which leads to the break down of the machines and more concerning - dangerous pollutants being released into the atmosphere. I am deeply troubled about what is happening there.

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