Pockwood Pond
The government has been landfilling trash on the hillside in Pockwood Pond, shown here in April, since a fire damaged the incinerator in November. (File photo: FREEMAN ROGERS)

Electricity has been restored to the incinerator at Pockwood Pond, and repairs are “nearing completion” even though a needed part still has not been shipped from the United States, government announced on Oct. 1.

The incinerator has been nonfunctional since a fire last November caused extensive damage.

Necessary repairs, officials have said, included electrical work and a new control panel from the Virginia-based company Consutech, which manufactured the incinerator.

In April Cabinet decided to waive the competitive tender process for both aspects of the job.

A $192,153.60  contract with Skelton Electrics was signed in May, a $161,300 contract with Consutech in June, and payments to both were made in July, Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone told the House of Assembly in late July.

Now, electricity has been restored to the facility, and the control panel “is being prepared for shipment to the territory in the coming weeks,” according to a government press release issued Tuesday.

No specific timeline was provided.

Previous deadline

In July, Mr. Malone also said the repairs were expected to be completed by late September.

In response, opposition member Julian Fraser questioned why it took some five months to approve funding and eight months to sign a contract.

“How irresponsible can a government be, having the incinerator creating such a nuisance?” he asked, adding that Premier Andrew Fahie “knows because he’s been around. He knows that if you want to do something like that you go to Cabinet with a paper and get the funding for it. The financial secretary can’t tell you no. We did that in the past. When you have an emergency, that’s how you deal with it. You don’t sit back there and actually wait for tendering.”

Mr. Fahie then jumped in to respond, saying that problems with the incinerator have been going on for six years and that his government had moved as quickly as possible to rectify the situation since taking office in February.

Consutech scrubber

The Tuesday press release did not mention the pollution-control scrubber that government officials have been promising for more than a decade.

Government signed a $1 million contract with Consutech in 2015 to create the scrubber and it has already paid the company a $500,000 deposit, but the device has not been delivered. Department of Waste Management officials have said the scrubber is not expected to arrive before the plant resumes operations.