Unsupervised “private garbage haulers” dumping waste at the Pockwood Pond incinerator have been the cause of pockets of fires over the past few weeks, according to Neville Allen, the assistant manager at the Department of Waste Management.
As a result, access to the incinerator will be limited after 4 p.m. daily in order “to control the practice of indiscriminate dumping,” a Friday press release stated.
The announcement added that these “haulers” have been dumping waste at the incinerator site after workers leave at the end of the workday.
Mr. Allen went on to state that only compactor trucks will be allowed access up to 8 p.m. and that the public will be notified when the situation is under control and the site is open during normal hours of operation.
A resident of nearby Romney Park, Susanna Henighan Potter, posted on Facebook on July 3 that her recently installed air quality monitor showed a high reading of 191, well into the red or “unhealthy” zone of the Air Quality Index and nearing the purple or “very unhealthy” zone.
A reading of 0-50 is deemed “good,” while 51- 100 is “moderate.”
“What’s really important to understand is that the colour codes are designed for ‘normal’ pollution. A landfill fire is not normal!” Ms. Henighan Potter wrote in the post. “Anyone can monitor the air quality at Romney Park in real time (provided our wifi and power supply are up) using this link: https://www.purpleair.com/map#12.35/18.38806/-64.69958. We are located 1.15 miles southwest of Pockwood Pond. I am sure that other people are getting it far worse.”
Since the incinerator was damaged in a Nov. 26 fire, waste has been landfilled in the mountainside behind the facility, leading to various environmental and public health hazards.
Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone said in Standing Finance Committee meetings recently that money had been approved to fund the repairs of the control panel and electrical works of the incinerator.
He added that he was unable to report on the pollution-control scrubber that officials have been promising to add to the incinerator for more than a decade because of “issues with the consultancy.”
“He further stated that the open burning must be stopped, the incinerator repaired and an alternative landfill site be identified,” stated the SFC report.