Here’s where Fort Worth plans to put its first trash collecting water wheel

Fort Worth’s first water wheel will be a stone’s throw from the new city hall.

The city is proposing putting the trash collecting trawler at the Purcey Street Outfall in the Trinity River, according to a city report. The location is just west of the future city hall building where Forest Park Boulevard curves and turns into West Weatherford Street.

The machine will use buoys to funnel trash into a conveyor belt to be deposited into a dumpster. The conveyor belt will be powered by the river current and solar panels.

The wheel should be up and running by summer 2024, according to the city report.

The technology, originally developed for the Baltimore Harbor, will help Fort Worth remove roughly 50,000 pounds of trash per day.

The City Council voted in December 2021 to approve raising $2.5 million in private donations to design, build and install two water wheels. So far the city has raised $660,000.

This is enough money to support one water wheel, but the city along with the ecological non-profit Streams and Valleys are still raising money for a second wheel, said Lola McCartney, a spokesperson for the city’s environmental services department in an email to the Star-Telegram.

Each wheel costs around $600,000 to build and $50,000 to maintain. The city and the Tarrant Regional Water District plan to split the maintenance costs.

This first wheel will allow the city and its partners to get a better sense of how well the technology works and what it takes to operate and maintain it, McCartney said.

The city of Fort Worth and the Tarrant Regional Water District are kicking in a combined $700,000 for, “site preparation, configuration, installation and initial operations,” of the initial wheel, according to McCartney.

The characteristics of our local geography and geology create specific requirements that must be overcome to stabilize the water wheel, she said.

The water district board approved a memorandum of understanding outlining the partnership between the itself and the city. The Fort Worth City Council is scheduled to vote Nov. 14 on whether to accept that agreement.