While Tropical Storm Hilary got a lot of headlines with flooding inland, our coastal concerns with heavy weather have much to do with what sweeps out to the ocean.
The Ballona Creek Trash Interceptor, developed by the international non-profit organization The Ocean Cleanup, is a fully automated, solar-powered trash collection device designed to capture floating plastic, trash and litter before they reach the ocean. Placed in the water where the creek meets the ocean, it’s been at work since October of 2022. When the storm hit, the vessel proved it’s worth.
The vessel has two booms designed to collect trash from the creek before it becomes trash in the ocean. Los Angeles County Public Works deployed the second boom at the Ballona Creek Interceptor 007 on Saturday, August 19, in anticipation of the stormwater flows resulting from Tropical Storm Hilary.
A statement from LAPW noted “The Interceptor did an incredible job collecting trash and on Tuesday, August 22, we offloaded over 16,000 pounds of debris following the major weather event. Since its launch, The Interceptor has prevented 77.4 tons of trash and debris from reaching local beaches and the Santa Monica Bay. That’s enough to fill eight school busses.
The Interceptor’s onboard trash bins were filled and offloaded 14 times over the course of seven months. Offloaded material was transported to a local waste management facility for sorting, disposal and/or recycling. Recyclable materials were prepared for beneficial reuse to decrease the amount of waste sent to landfills.
Altogether, 2,040 pounds of plastic were recovered for recycling, equivalent to about 48,700 16-ounce plastic bottles.
Good work, 007. Keep at it.