The incinerator at Pockwood Pond is finally operational and is set to begin 12-hour shifts starting Wednesday, January 29.
Minister of Health Carvin Malone told BVI News the incinerator was declared operational after undergoing repairs and subsequent certification checks by equipment manufacturers, Consutech Systems LLC.
“Last Thursday we were able to run tests, just to see what mechanical issues we would have encountered. Fortunately, we were able to avoid any major mechanical issues which would have resulted in the prolonged closure of the incinerator. But the minor issuers which were encountered have been repaired and we are now full steam,” Minister Malone stated.
He also warned that due to the incinerator going more than a year without being active, a number of other mechanical issues may arise during its operation. He said this will result in brief closures of the plant while the issues are promptly rectified.
12-hour shifts to turn to 24-hours until untreated waste is gone
Malone, in the meantime, said the 12-hour shifts in which the incinerator will operate is only a temporary measure.
“Once we get the light fixtures reinstalled -because some of the wirings had burnt out and we are getting those repaired now -we will be able to run a 24-hour shift,” the minister said.
“The furnace has been reactivated, the mechanical issues have been examined and fixed, and we are now on 12-hour shifts and we will be moving to 24-hour shifts until the body of untreated waste has been incinerated,” he added.
Random fires will become a memory
He also said the occasional outburst of fires at the waste facility is expected to stop now that the incinerator is back up and running.
“This will be good news for us because we will be able to avoid the direct burial of untreated waste, which as you know from time to time would cause spontaneous combustion with no fault of our own. And in so doing, we would reduce the fires, the smokes and the hazardous conditions that are caused by this,” Malone said.
Scrubber to come
While no timeline was given as to when a scrubber will be installed on the incinerator, Minister Malone said plans are being worked on. He further said more information will be shared at a later date.
“We are in conversations again with the scrubber so we can have a cleaner emittance of the vapour, instead of smoke coming out from the chimney,” he said.
Long history of problems
The BVI has been without an operational incinerator since November 2018, which has sparked many concerns within the territory among residents following a number of fires which resulted in smoke affecting nearby communities.
Following a large outcry from impacted citizens, government disbursed approximately 400 filtered masks to residents as a temporary solution in July 2019. They also erected nearly half-dozen air quality monitoring stations in affected communities.