Trash traps get much-needed cleanout

Environmental, Litter-Free Rivers, Neuse River Watershed, Sound Rivers, Tar-Pamlico Watershed, Volunteer, Water Quality

Posted on June 29th, 2023

A recent spate of wet weather in North Carolina sent plenty of pollutants and garbage into local waterways, but traps on a few of those creeks stopped the downstream flow of trash.

On Jack’s Creek in Washington and Little Rock Creek in Raleigh, our teams of staff and volunteers gave the trash traps some much-needed clean-outs this week.

Ilene Doyle (left) and Sound Rivers’ water-quality intern Rachel Geyer do a count of trash pulled from the trash trap on Little Rock Creek in Raleigh.

The traps are part of Sound Rivers’ Litter-Free Rivers program: in addition to the traps in Washington and Raleigh, another is installed on Duffyfield Canal in New Bern. All three trap trash as it flows downstream; volunteers and staff clean them out and audit them regularly, part of an ongoing study about where trash is coming from — especially plastics — and how it breaks down in waterways. A fourth trash trap has been approved for installation of Adkin Branch in Kinston; Greenville is actively pursuing partnership with Sound Rivers to have one installed on a tributary of the Tar River; and the City of Raleigh staff have expressed interest in more traps being installed on urban streams.

In Washington, Sound Rivers board member Betsy Hester and a team of volunteers braved the heat to collect 56 pounds of trash out of the Jack’s Creek trap on Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday in Raleigh, Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop, Sound Rivers’ Water-Quality Intern Rachel Geyer and N.S. State University student Ilene Doyle pulled 30 pounds of trash out of the Little Rock Creek trap: more than 300 individual pieces of trash that included 130 plastic bottles.

A full trash trap, Jack’s Creek, Washington.
Another full trash trap (130 plastic bottles), Little Rock Creek, Raleigh.

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