Trash Traps

Update 2022-05-22 A trash trap is a device to put across a creek or river to catch trash before it goes downstream. In addition to the ones mentioned below, others include WaterGoat, GEIWorks, and Osprey now has a Litter Boom.

We recommend more trash traps to catch this stuff before it gets into ponds or rivers.

[Bottles and cans, two types of trash traps]
Bottles and cans, two types of trash traps

Valdosta already has one trash trap, off of Baytree Road west of Springhill Drive. Thanks to Valdosta Stormwater Manager Angela Bray for pointing that out.

[Outfall of trash trap, 10:16:37, 30.8471573, -83.3288788]
Outfall of trash trap, 10:16:37, 30.8471573, -83.3288788

See how clean Sheri Branch looks as we paddle past it, just before the I-75 bridge, where it comes down from Lake Sheri below that trash trap, during the Earth Day Rivers Alive Cleanup: Joree Millpond, Withlacoochee River 2021-04-17.

The Real Trash Problem

Remember: the real trash problem is the companies that make all that single-use plastic and aluminum packaging for soft drinks, water, beer, and fast food.


Among the worst offenders: Nestlé and Coca-Cola.

It’s time to ask the Georgia and Florida state legislators to bring back bottle and can deposits. The half-dozen states that have those have much less of a trash problem.

Trash Trap Grants

Speaking of Coca-Cola, they provided a $350,000 grant for trash traps on Proctor Creek in Atlanta. Nedra Rhone, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 27 September 2019, Can litter traps reduce trash in Proctor Creek?

Grant money will pay for five Litter Gitters — a basket-style catcher attached to the river bank with floating booms — that run less than $10,000 each and can be moved from place to place.

Litter Gitter, Proctor Creek, Atlanta
Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, September 2019, In-stream ‘Trash Traps’ collect litter pollution before it reaches the river.

In January, a larger, more permanent litter trapper called the Bandalong will be installed. A Bandalong litter trap can run $100,000 or more depending on the area where it is being installed. It also floats on waterways but is supported by polyethylene pipes held in place by chains attached to anchors or poles. Collection booms funnel litter through a one-way gate where trash is held until removed.

Bandalong litter trap

An additional $50,000 in funding from the Coca-Cola Foundation will cover the cost for employees from the City of Atlanta and Groundwork Atlanta to be hired and trained on maintenance and management of the systems for one year, Radtke said.

Chattahoochee Riverkeeper has much more on In-Stream Trash Removal, including a writeup on different types of trash traps they’ve tried.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of Trash Capture Technologies.

EPA also has provided grants for a variety of trash capture projects.

Maybe the City of Valdosta can get some grants like that. And maybe other cities in the Suwannee River Basin.

You’ve already seen all of the above if you read the post about the Earth Day Rivers Alive Cleanup: Joree Millpond, Withlacoochee River 2021-04-17. It seemed liked a good idea to also make it a standalone post.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!