Two solar-powered waterwheels will be stationed in the flowing waterways of the Trinity River to collect and remove the trash that pollutes the river.
The waterwheels are a joint investment by the Tarrant Regional Water District, the City of Fort Worth, Streams & Valleys, Inc., and community partners.
On December 14, the Fort Worth City Council voted to accept private donations from various supporters and use the funds to design the waterwheels, install them, and maintain them.
According to NBC DFW, each of the two waterwheels will cost approximately $600,000. The maintenance and disposal of trash will run about $50,000 annually.
A Fort Worth city news release describes the appearance of the waterwheels as a “cross between an old grain mill and a covered wagon.” CBS DFW stated that the machine will be run entirely by the river’s current and energy from the sun.
The current of the water will allow the wheels to collect and remove the trash, and solar-powered pumps will provide a conveyor-type system that lifts and disposes the garbage into a detachable dumpster.
“Everyone wants access to clean water and the ability to enjoy recreational activities without coming into contact with trash or stormwater pollution,” stated Brandon Bennet, Fort Worth Code Compliance Director. He added, “The concept behind waterwheels couldn’t be any simpler, but the results are astonishing when it comes to cleaning tons of trash pollution from waterways in a short period of time.”
The Trinity River is close to Downtown Fort Worth, and along the river are more than one hundred miles of trails for residents to enjoy.
According to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, the Trinity River provides water to more than forty percent of Texans, especially in the DFW area.
WFAA stated that the goal for the waterwheels is to keep the Trinity River clean, especially in the areas of Clear Fork and West Fork. The City of Fort Worth’s website stated, “Waterwheels are a gigantic solution to cleaner waterways.”