New skimmer taking out the trash in Providence River Marina

New skimmer taking out the trash in Providence River Marina

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) —  A new piece of technology floating in the Fox Point Marina will make Providence the first state capital in the nation to streamline the elimination of marine debris.

Clean Ocean Access unveiled a trash skimmer, located off the docks behind the Hot Club, that will filter and remove debris from the water.

Hot Club is partnering with Clean Ocean Access to maintain the trash skimmer, according to Rhode Island Senator and owner of the Hot Club Joshua Miller.

The skimmer looks like a dumpster partially submerged in the water, but contains a series of pumps and gateways that attract trash to its collection chamber. Once inside the skimmer, employees at the Hot Club will empty the bin by using a net to remove the trash.

“It’s kind of like watching paint dry,” Dave McLaughlin of Clean Ocean Access said. “If you just stand there and watch the unit operate, it seems like it’s not doing much. But if you come back tomorrow it will be full of stuff that shouldn’t be there and you can just remove it.”

McLaughlin said the skimmer should pick up approximately 30 pounds of trash a day and believes by the end of the year, it will have removed more than 10,000 pounds of trash from the Providence River.

Clean Ocean Access already has four trash skimmers operating since the organization began the program in 2016. McLaughlin said so far, those units have removed more than 20,000 pounds of trash from the waters off Aquidneck Island.

“We’re hoping to use this tool not only to address this issue, but to educate and inspire people to think about making smarter choices on land,” McLaughlin said.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in water cleanliness, but we have a lot of work to do, on plastic pollution especially,” Miller added.

Miller said the skimmer will be featured at the Hot Club’s waterfront bar. It will operate 24/7 and will be emptied at least once a day.

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