The Water Wheel runs on solar or water power, can collect tons of garbage a day, and is also kind of fun to watch as it operates.
A new mechanism that in some ways resembles a carnival ride is cleaning up Baltimore’s Inner Harbor of plastic and other trash.
Clearwater Mills LLC has created The Water Wheel, a solar-powered mill-style wheel that uses the current of the river to urge trash onto its wheel shelves, then lifts the trash onto a conveyer belt, where it is deposited into a trash bin for removal and disposal. If you want to see it operate, there is a youtube.com video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5l7s6wC50g) that has already hosted more than one million views.
Created by John Kellett of Clearwater Mills LLC from Pasadena, Md., the device is interesting to look at and fun to watch as it operates.
“It looks sort of like a cross between a spaceship and a covered wagon and an old mill,’’ Kellett said in an interview with National Public Radio. “It’s pretty unique in its look, but it is also doing a really good job getting this trash out of the water.”
The machine sits along a dock or port, in much the way a tugboat or pleasure vessel might. Extended from the front of the device are bumpers that direct the floating trash toward the wheel. In Baltimore, the Water Wheel is at the outlet of one of the major rivers feeding into the harbor, so that there is a significant current pushing material toward the Water Wheel.
The wheel can process 25 tons of garbage a day. Baltimore reports its Water Wheel collected about 50 tons of garbage in one month’s time, garbage that otherwise would have flowed into the Chesapeake Bay and into the Atlantic Ocean.
Ecologist Andrew David Thaler is a proponent of the device.
“Major cities with tightly controlled tributaries are the perfect candidates for this technology,” Thaler told National Public Radio.
The device is so popular with the environmental crowd the city of Baltimore is considering putting a webcam on it so it can be watched on the Internet as it operates.
“The water wheel has been a time-saver for us,” said Bill 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.”
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.