Mary Beth Nevulis is the managing editor of Storm Water Solutions. Nevulis can be reached at [email protected]
Jul 01, 2014

Problem Solvers

Baltimore's Inner Harbor is getting regular trash pickup these days, using a creative and unconventional method. 

The trash from Baltimore's streets is swept into storm drains during rain events and ends up in the harbor via runoff from the Jones Falls River. Until recently, the harbor was full of this floating trash and debris; then a local named John Kellett approached Baltimore officials with an idea: A large water wheel could collect the detritus that flowed into the harbor after storms. The officials agreed to the installation, and the water wheel is now docked in the harbor.

The water wheel was placed where the river empties into the harbor. Kellett told NPR that the wheel harnesses "the power of the runoff that brings [the trash] to collect it." 

Since the water wheel began churning in May, it has removed 40 tons of trash from the harbor.

For another simple yet innovative solution to a problem, stay tuned for the SWS July/August issue, which will feature an article on how employees at the Port of Vancouver USA came up with a way to reduce the amount of zinc in the port's storm water.