Trash Capture in the Proctor Creek Watershed

Trash capture in the Proctor Creek watershed serves as an example of interagency collaboration and private sector engagement to advance clean, trash-free communities. The Proctor Creek Urban Waters Federal Partnership ambassador and the Region 4 Trash Free Waters coordinator work closely to leverage resources and reach goals within the community.

Thanks in part to their advocacy, Coca-Cola has invested in the watershed to enhance trash capture efforts as part of their World Without Waste campaign. Coca-Cola has now funded two trash capture projects in six locations within the Proctor Creek Watershed. One project is being carried out in partnership with the Chattahoochee RiverKeeper and the other through the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and City of Atlanta.

Various trash capture devices such as Litter Gitters have been installed both in the main spine of Proctor Creek and in several tributaries. They are placed in accessible and highly visible areas close to elementary schools, greenways, and pedestrian walking bridges where people can view firsthand the amount of in-stream trash being collected.

Other aspects of the projects include data collection using the EPA’s Escaped Trash Assessment Protocol (ETAP) tool, continued maintenance training and workforce development, and outreach and education with schools and adult learning centers. This trash capture network is considered a demonstration project which can be used to provide information for parties domestically and abroad that could be interested in planning and designing a similar Photo courtesy of Georgia Stand Up. Trash capture device in Proctor Creek, Atlanta. system of traps to clean up waterbodies.

The Proctor Creek UWFP is currently discussing next steps for the project after it officially ends in December 2020.

Litter Gitter technology has greatly expanded since the first test site in 2017. By the end of March 2020, there will be a projected 29 total active Litter Gitter sites throughout the nation including 6 in the Dog River Watershed outside Mobile, AL and 3 in the Mill Creek Watershed outside Cincinnati, OH.

-Chris Plymale,
USAEPA Region 4
Plymale.Chris@epa.gov

This article originally appeared in the May 2020 USA EPA Newsletter, The Flow of Trash Free Waters.

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Initial tests indicate a 80+% success rate in preventing the downstream loss of floating litter. Osprey handles all aspects of installing and maintaining the Litter Gitter. Litter is separated from vegetative debris.