Los Angeles County Deploys First Trash Interceptor Vessel in North America

The Ballona Creek Trash Interceptor 007 Pilot Project aims to prevent 60 tons of trash from entering Santa Monica Bay.

LOS ANGELES, October 21, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Los Angeles County Public Works has officially launched the Ballona Creek Trash Interceptor 007 Pilot Project where the creek meets the ocean in Playa del Rey—a prime location for the debut of this internationally tested solution. The Trash Interceptor 007 is a fully automated, solar-powered trash collection device developed by The Ocean Cleanup, a Netherlands-based nonprofit. It is the first of its kind to be deployed anywhere in North America.

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Ballona Creek Interceptor (Photo: Business Wire)

The two-year pilot project is the result of a partnership between the County of Los Angeles and The Ocean Cleanup to address the issue of stormwater pollution in Ballona Creek. But project proponents hope it will pave the way for the implementation of a scalable solution worldwide.

"The Interceptor is a powerful addition to the County's multi-pronged approach to prevent trash from entering our waterways—which also includes banning single-use plastics and anti-littering awareness campaigns," said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Holly J. Mitchell. "I look forward to the findings from this pilot and the impact it has on keeping our waterways clean and safe for all residents to enjoy."

The Trash Interceptor 007 is a 73-foot-long catamaran with a removable barge that holds six collection bins for a combined 1,750 cubic feet of storage capacity. Its automated trash rack and conveyor-belt system run as smoothly and quietly as a common household appliance for an eco-friendly and efficient solution to harvesting waterborne trash.

Each year, between 30 and 60 tons of trash enter Ballona Creek, carried by runoff from city streets. The County has invested in numerous ways to protect local rivers, lakes, and the ocean from pollution, including bans on single-use plastics, the installation of stormwater filters and diversions, and culturally competent public outreach efforts, including the Trash Travels campaign, in multiple languages.

"Protecting the region’s waterways from pollution is a responsibility we share with the public and cities across the region," said Los Angeles County Public Works Director Mark Pestrella, P.E. "The Interceptor 007 is the latest innovation deployed by the County and its partner, The Ocean Cleanup, to protect our public health, beautiful coastline and marine environments."

The Ocean Cleanup has deployed Interceptor Solutions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Guatemala, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic as part of its river initiative, with the goal of implementing 1,000 river systems.

"The Interceptor is The Ocean Cleanup’s answer to river plastic waste. It is the first scalable solution to prevent plastic from entering the world’s oceans from rivers," said The Ocean Cleanup’s Founder and CEO, Boyan Slat. "This pilot project presents an ideal opportunity to test a global solution for automated trash collection by collecting real-world data on Interceptor 007’s effectiveness at the center of the California coastline, home to some of the world’s most iconic beaches."

Engaging not only key community and government stakeholders in its mission to solve river plastic waste, The Ocean Cleanup partnered with the Coca-Cola Company, which has provided funding toward various Interceptor Solution technologies and manufacturing.

"The Coca-Cola Company has teamed with The Ocean Cleanup, which is working to help stem the tide of plastic waste flowing from rivers into oceans through the placement of Interceptor Solutions in rivers around the world. This partnership is part of The Coca-Cola Company’s broader sustainable packaging initiative World Without Waste," said Kurt Ritter, Vice President and General Manager, Sustainability, North America Operating Unit, The Coca-Cola Company. "We understand we have a responsibility to help solve the global plastic packaging waste crisis, and solutions to this challenge can best be unlocked when stakeholders work collaboratively. We congratulate The Ocean Cleanup and Los Angeles County on the launch of Interceptor 007 in Ballona Creek."

On Oct. 22, Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell and LA County Public Works will host a launch event for the Ballona Creek Trash Interceptor 007 Pilot Project with The Ocean Cleanup Founder and CEO Boyan Slat and key community stakeholders, including representatives from Black Girls Surf, Ballona Creek Renaissance, and Friends of the Jungle.

For more information, visit the project’s website at ballonainterceptor.lacounty.gov.

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MATT HARTMAN
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