A “Trash Trout” trash trap floats on Deer Creek in Deer Creek Park in Maplewood, Missouri. (Photo credits: Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper, Ashville GreenWorks, and Trash Trout.)
The Trash-Free St. Louis Project to show how solving marine debris starts inland
EPA Region 7’s Trash-Free Waters program, along with Wichita State University’s Environmental Finance Center and the Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper organization, are working with local community groups on a project to install and maintain three trash traps in St. Louis area streams.
A stream trash trap is a mechanical system that includes a floating boom and net that funnel and gather floating debris near embankments, canals, or stormwater outfalls before it can reach primary waterways like streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans.
Three different types of trash traps are being installed at the following locations: “Trash Trout” at Deer Creek in Maplewood, Missouri; “B2B Beaver” at Mackenzie Creek in St. Louis; and, “Litter Gitter” at River Des Peres in University City, Missouri.
“Stream trash traps, like the ones being deployed in St. Louis, help build awareness of this issue and make the amount and composition of trash more visible, all the while helping to clean up litter in waterways,” said Jeff Robichaud, EPA Region 7’s Water Division director. “St. Louis has the ability to influence change and reduce the impacts caused by trash in urban streams and rivers that feed into the Gulf of Mexico.”
St. Louis serves as an ideal location to launch the pilot project to study trash and litter, as it sits on the confluence of the two most prominent American rivers, the Mississippi and Missouri. Their watersheds combined form the largest single watershed in the United States and flow south to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.
“The debris and trash that enters these two watersheds often makes its way through storm sewers and remains hidden until storms and rain empty the debris from storm sewers into small streams and larger rivers,” Robichaud said. “This is a positive step in helping to keep River Des Peres – and the Mississippi River it flows into – cleaner for both the animals that live there and humans who rely on it,” said Diane Bauhof, executive director of the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation.