Innovative Trash Interceptor System Withstands Damage During Southern California Storms

Dutch nonprofit the Ocean Cleanup’s Ballona Creek Trash Interceptor 007 catches thousands of pounds of garbage during recent storms that have battered Southern California

Despite being damaged by consecutive atmospheric rivers in January, the Ballona Creek Trash Interceptor 007 has continued to perform impressively during its first year of operation. The innovative program, designed by the Ocean Cleanup and Los Angeles County, has collected over 60 tons of trash, preventing it from flowing out to the Pacific.

During the storms, the rough waters damaged one of the barrier system’s two nets, allowing trash to flow out to the Pacific. Crews were able to connect a temporary floating barrier in late January to guide garbage into the collector. The system, designed by Dutch nonprofit the Ocean Cleanup and Los Angeles County, was the first of its kind in the U.S.

Since its installation in October, the solar-powered interceptor has collected more than 60 tons of trash, preventing it from flowing out to Santa Monica Bay. Despite damage to an older boom system upstream, the interceptor has continued to catch thousands of pounds of garbage during recent storms that have battered Southern California.

After a temporary fix was made to the interceptor in February, it operated smoothly, catching all the debris that had accumulated upstream when a trash-collecting boom failed in March.

According to Kerjon Lee, a spokesperson for the L.A. County Public Works Department, the interceptor has performed impressively in its first year of operation. “We’re so pleased with its progress over the first year,” Lee told the LA Times. 

The Ocean Cleanup project aims to remove 90% of all floating plastic in the world’s oceans by 2040. Its machines have been deployed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and in rivers to prevent trash from entering the oceans.

The Ballona Creek Receptor is an innovative program launched by The Ocean Cleanup to tackle plastic pollution at the source in Los Angeles. The program involves the installation of a custom-designed trash interceptor that captures plastic waste and other debris before it reaches the Pacific Ocean. The interceptor works by using a combination of floating barriers, conveyor belts, and bins to collect and sort the plastic waste. This waste is then transported to a recycling facility for proper disposal. The Ballona Creek Receptor is a key part of The Ocean Cleanup’s overall strategy to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean, and it serves as a model for similar initiatives in other cities around the world. Through their efforts, The Ocean Cleanup is raising awareness about the devastating impact of plastic pollution and inspiring individuals, communities, and governments to take action to protect our oceans and the planet.

Despite the continued threat of tempestuous weather, the Ballona Creek trash collector’s first storm season is ongoing, but the interceptor appears ready to face the challenge.

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