DENVER (CBS4)– According to the Greenway Foundation about $1.5 Million is spent each year cleaning out Denver’s waterways. Currently, each piece of trash has to be collected by hand, but a new prototype device is being piloted to help clean our waterways.

“This is called the Nautilus and it is a half-scale prototype of an in stream trash removal device,” said Devon Buckels, Director of The Water Connection with the Greenway Foundation.

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The Nautilus was the winning design by two Metropolitan State University students in the 2016 Clean River Design Challenge put on by the Greenway Foundation.

“Over the last few years, the idea and the concept and the design for it have evolved with the input from several different partners,” said Buckels.

This device is part of a comprehensive plan to help get trash out of our waterways.

“It comes from people either being lazy and polluting, or things blowing out of trashcans or I’ve even seen a squirrel carry off some trash,” said Lauren Berent, Associate Director, The Water Connection with the Greenway Foundation.

“That waste contains chemicals, in some cases or bacteria or other pollution that is harmful to humans and can be harmful certainly to any living thing that exists along or in the water ways,” said Buckels.

The Nautilus uses the natural flow of the waterway to trap and contain trash and other pollutants.

(credit: CBS)

It doesn’t require electricity and needs little maintenance.

Another device is being piloted as well to capture the pollution at its source.

“Our hope for the future is not to need any end stream trash removal device ever again,” said Buckels.

About 1½ ago, 15 Gutter Bins were placed across the city. Those bins have collected close to 4,000 pounds of pollutants.

“We would love to see the notion of urban waterway trash become as unimaginable as smoking on airplanes,” said Buckels.

The Nautilus can be seen in the Cherry Creek near Larimer Square. It’s expected the pilot will last at least one year.

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