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Trash wheel, Baltimore’s 4th, to collect garbage at Gwynns Falls

A photo illustration of what the latest trash wheel, this one at Gwynn Falls, will look like. (Courtesy Ziger/Snead Architects)

A photo illustration of what the latest trash wheel, this one at Gwynns Falls, will look like. (Courtesy Ziger/Snead Architects)

The Waterfront Partnership’s Healthy Harbor Initiative announced today a fourth trash wheel will join Mr. Trash Wheel, Professor Trash Wheel and Captain Trash Wheel by next spring.

The to-be-named trash interceptor will be at the mouth of the Gwynns Falls, where it will collect trash and debris before it makes its way to the Patapsco River and Chesapeake Bay.

 The Waterfront Partnership is asking for the public’s help naming the device. Names can be submitted at MrTrashWheel.com.

“We’ve had our googly eyes set on the Gwynns Falls for a long time,” said Adam Lindquist, director of the Healthy Harbor Initiative. “An estimated 400 tons of litter and debris flow into the Middle Branch each year. This new trash wheel will mean cleaner shorelines and less plastic in the Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay.”

The Gwynns Falls trash wheel will be the largest trash wheel ever built. It will have a grappling arm to help move large debris and a canopy covered by 72 solar panels. It will use solar and hydro power to turn a water wheel that powers a series of rakes and a conveyor belt that will lift trash from the water and deposit it into a dumpster barge. The project also includes a kayak gate that will provide access to the stream.

The device will be built and installed by Clearwater Mills, the Pasadena-based company that invented the technology. Since the success of Mr. Trash Wheel, Clearwater Mills has received near-daily requests for new trash wheels from cities around the world. The new trash wheel is one of five projects currently in development. The other four are located in Brunswick, Ga., Newport Beach, Calif., Milwaukee, Wis., and Panama City, Panama.

Baltimore City and Baltimore County have come together to support the project’s development and provide operational funding.

Middle Branch property owners Weller Development and Continental Realty Corporation were early backers of the Gwynns Falls project and were later joined by the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, a nonprofit that disperses local impact grants funded by casino revenue.

The most substantial funding came this spring when the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration committed $500,000 for construction and $200,000 for operation and maintenance.

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