TRASH WHEEL PROJECT
USING THE POWER OF NATURE TO KEEP OUR HARBOR CLEAN
The Inner Harbor Water Wheel, or “Mr. Trash Wheel” to locals, combines old and new technology to harness the power of water and sunlight to collect litter and debris flowing down the Jones Falls River.
The river’s current provides power to turn the water wheel, which lifts trash and debris from the water and deposits it into a dumpster barge. When there isn’t enough water current, a solar panel array provides additional power to keep the machine running. When the dumpster is full, it’s towed away by boat, and a new dumpster is put in place. Voilà!
Thank you, Mr. Trash Wheel.
FOLLOW MR. TRASH WHEEL ON TWITTER
Mr. Trash Wheel is on Twitter! He’s happy to answer any questions you may have about life in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and what it’s like eating trash all day. You can follow his tweets @MrTrashWheel.
WHERE DOES THE TRASH COME FROM?
Trash comes from people who throw garbage on the ground instead of putting it in a trash can or recycling bin. When it rains, water carries this garbage off streets and into storm drains, which flow unfiltered into neighborhood streams. These streams carry the trash into the Baltimore Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay.
The Jones Falls begins as a stream in Baltimore County, and is fed by other streams until it becomes a small river in Baltimore City. Although much of the river is hidden beneath the Jones Falls Expressway, the Jones Falls Watershed is much larger than the river. A watershed is an area of land that all drains to the same body of water.
The map on the left shows the Jones Falls Watershed, which drains fifty-eight square miles of land. Garbage collected by Mr. Trash Wheel could come from anywhere in the Jones Falls Watershed area.
MR. TRASH WHEEL FACTS
On a sunny day, the solar panels can produce 2,500 watts of electricity—enough to power a typical Maryland home.
MR. TRASH WHEEL PHOTOS