A new contraption in a Baltimore river is helping to clear trash and debris — up to 50,000 pounds of it each day — from the city’s Inner Harbor. The 50-foot-long “water wheel” gathers garbage floating in the Jones Falls River, which runs through the city to the Baltimore Inner Harbor, and deposits it in a large dumpster so the trash can be hauled away.
Two large booms funnel debris toward a conveyor belt powered by the wheel, which itself is powered primarily by the flowing river. When the flow isn’t strong enough to turn the wheel, water pumps, run by solar panels lining a canopy over the wheel, turn on and push water up to spin the wheel.
The water wheel was designed to handle the heavy debris and larger pieces of trash that the river often carries, said its designer, Baltimore-based Clearwater Mills. It began operating earlier this month and cost $750,000, with $500,000 of that contributed by the Maryland Port Administration, Co.Exist reports.