Officials from the Department of Waste Management recently travelled to Virginia to visit Consutech Systems LLC, which fabricated the territory’s trash incinerator and is contracted to repair it following a fire in February 2022. (Photo: GIS)

As part of efforts to repair the incinerator in Pockwood Pond by the end of the year, officials from the Department of Waste Management recently visited the plant’s manufacturer in Richmond, Virginia, according to government.

DWM Director Marcus Solomon described his trip to Consutech Systems LLC — which is now contracted to repair the VI’s incinerator following a February 2022 fire — as “beneficial,” according to Government Information Services.

“It allowed us to verify the status of some outstanding contract agreements, which puts us in a better place for a positive outcome to replace the spare parts necessary to have the incinerator functional by the end of the year,” said Mr. Solomon, who was accompanied by Waste Management Officer Neville Allen.

Mr. Solomon added that various measures were put in place to allow for “improved compliance” in the government’s contractual arrangement with the company.

“We have set guidelines for shipping, set new timelines, implemented a process that accounts for progress and delays as well as implementing penalties which include termination of the said contracts,” he explained, adding, “We are hoping that this trip has reinforced the relationship between both parties and that we both can continue to benefit from a symbiotic relationship.”

Delayed repairs

The repairs are a long time in coming.

Ever since the facility was damaged by a fire on Feb. 14, 2022, Tortola’s trash has been buried in an adjacent hillside landfill that frequently catches fire and sends noxious smoke over West End.

At the time of the February 2022 fire, then-Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone said the facility would likely be offline for two to four months.

The DWM later upped that estimate to seven months, a target that passed last September.

More delays followed, and officials have provided few explanations for them.

Delayed scrubber

This is not the first time that a deal with Consutech has been delayed.

In 2015, the previous government paid the company a $500,000 down payment for an approximately $1 million pollution-control scrubber, VI officials have said.

That scrubber, however, has never been installed.

This is also not the first time a fire has disrupted the incinerator’s operations.

A blaze in November 2018 left it inoperable for more than a year.

Even after a new control panel was installed in January 2020 and the incinerator resumed operations, it continued to suffer failures that left it shuttered for weeks at a time.

Consutech did not respond to an email.