40 Tons Of Trash Already removed, Baltimore’s Water Wheel Keeps Working Now


This could be the  one of the future solutions to our water pollution!

And John Kellett is the man to congratulate.

Every day, John used to walk by Pier 6 on his way to work at the Baltimore Maritime Museum on the Inner Harbor. During his walk, he took notice of all the floating debris in the water and would hear tourists complain and talk about the beautiful harbor being disgusting. Aware of this, Kellett decided something had to be done.

And that is exactly waht John Kellett did!


Baltimore’s Wheel Keeps rolling in the trash

He developed his idea: a big water wheel to collect the plastic cups, cigarette butts and all the other debris that flow into the waterway after rainstorms. This idea is now a reality!  Kellett approached Baltimore officials about ways to remove the trash — and they listened. The water wheel is now docked in the harbor.

“The Water Wheel works by funneling debris in, pushing the trash onto a conveyer belt and running the loaded conveyer belt into a dumpster. When the dumpster is full, the dock is released, hooked up to a boat and taken to a RESCO waste-to-energy plant, where it is converted to electrical energy.

Interestingly, cleaning up trash is not the only thing the Water Wheel does: it also puts oxygen back in the water, removes organic waste and educates people about the pollution happening in Baltimore and across the globe. Not bad a for machine created in just seven months by four men.

“It looks sort of like a cross between a spaceship and a covered wagon and an old mill,” says Kellett. “It’s pretty unique in its look, but it’s also doing a really good job getting this trash out of the water.”

“I started out thinking, ‘Maybe we could bale it like a hay baler.’ And then I said, ‘Well, that’s not necessary; maybe we can make it even simpler — we can just use the power of the runoff that brings it to collect it,’ ” he says.

waterwheel2 waterwheel

Kellett is talking about the runoff from the Jones Falls river. He placed the water wheel right where the river spills into the harbor. That’s where trash lingering on Baltimore’s streets ends up after rainstorms sweep it into storm drains.

The city used to catch the trash with crab nets. But since the water wheel began churning in May, it has removed 40 tons of trash from the harbor.

That’s made business owners like Bill Flohr very happy.

“The water wheel has been a time-saver for us,” says Flohr, who runs Baltimore Harbor’s East Marina. “It seems to be collecting probably 95 percent of what we normally had to pick up by hand.”

Flohr likens the trash that comes into the harbor “to having a box of mice, letting them go in a gymnasium, and having two people try to corral them. The mice spread out, the trash spreads out, and it’s a long job to get it clean,” he says.

John Kellett knows his invention doesn’t solve Baltimore’s trash problem, but he’s hoping the thousands of tourists who see the water wheel will realize that every piece of trash that ends up on the ground may eventually float by in the water.

Baltimore wants to make the Inner Harbor clean enough for swimming by 2020.

I need to propose this Idea to the French President Francois Hollande to clean out La Seine!

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