Trash trap No. 5 makes Greenville debut

Environmental, Litter-Free Rivers, Microplastics, Sound Rivers, Stormwater Runoff, Tar-Pamlico Watershed, Volunteer, Volunteers, Water Quality

Posted on March 28th, 2024

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman steers the trash trap into the center of Greens Mill Run.

Installing trash trap No. 5 of Sound Rivers’ Litter-Free Rivers program was a race to beat the rain.

With 2 to 5 inches of rain forecast for eastern North Carolina from Wednesday into Thursday, Sound Rivers Program Director Clay Barber, Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman, Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register and Volunteer Coordinator Emily Fritz met up with volunteers and observers on Wednesday morning to make quick work of the installation on Greens Mill Run, a tributary of the Tar River in Greenville.

“This is an urban, flashy creek, so it’s going to fill up fast,” Clay said. “It’ll be a great test of durability of the trap, the anchors and the lines.”

Program Director Clay Barber secures the trash-trap line to a tree on the bank of Greens Mill Run, with the assistance of volunteer Rebecca Reibel.

These passive litter-collecting devices are anchored to the banks of a stream and corral floating trash as it moves downstream with the current, funneling it into a cage. When trash builds up, a team of volunteers removes it, preventing it from flowing downstream into the Tar-Pamlico River.

“It’s surprising how quickly the trap fills up, especially when you have heavy rain and a lot of stormwater flowing off impervious surfaces like roads and parking lots,” Clay said. “With that runoff, comes all the trash on those hard surfaces.”

Sound Rivers’ four other trash traps are located on Jack’s Creek in Washington, Duffyfield Canal in New Bern, Little Rock Creek in Raleigh and Adkin Branch in Kinston. This particular trap, located on Greens Mill Run in Greensprings Park, will require some study as water levels fluctuate when it rains, and also again if the Tar River approaches flood stage and backs up into Greens Mill Run, according to Clay.

Volunteer Coordinator Emily Fritz and Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register discuss where anchors should be attached to the banks.

“Daryl Norris from Greenville’s Engineering Department came out to the installation and talked to us about the expected flood levels on the creek, which was helpful,” he said.

Sound Rivers partnered with the City of Greenville to install the latest trash trap in Sound Rivers’ Litter-Free Rivers Program. Sponsors for the Greenville trash trap are Grady-White Boats, the Luke Garrison Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Fabrication and the Winston Family Foundation.

Program Director Clay Barber takes a group selfie while WITN reporter Celeste Ford sets up for an interview.

(Also many thanks to volunteer Rebecca Reibel who offered to monitor the new trash trap during its first big rain!)

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Program Director Clay Barber adds another anchor to the bank of Greens Mill Run.
Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register (left) and Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman guide the trash trap into the creek.
Volunteer Coordinator Emily Fritz stands in the creek as a forecasted 2 to 5 inches of rain begins to fall.
A view of the trash trap from upstream.

Watch WITN’s coverage here!

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