Design plans for Fort Worth’s Trinity River Waterwheels Initiative are complete.

Waterwheels are long-lasting, environmentally friendly machines that collect floating debris and help maintain the aesthetic appeal of waterways. A single waterwheel in the Trinity River can remove up to 50,000 pounds of debris per day. Waterwheels are environmentally friendly — they use renewable energy such as hydropower and solar, minimizing fuel costs and maintenance.

Completion of design plans are a big step in the project, allowing it to move toward implementation. During the next phase of the project, federal permits will be pursued from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a Department of Defense agency with authority over development on the Trinity River. A floodplain development permit must also be obtained from the City’s Development Services Department.

Key players in the project so far have included Enercon Services Inc., a multi-disciplinary engineering and environmental firm; Clearwater Mills LLC., a provider of sustainable environmental technologies, inventor and builder of the waterwheel; Weston Solutions Inc., a third-party provider of environmental and infrastructure services, and Tarrant Regional Water District, which will operate the unit once it is installed on the river.

“The concept behind waterwheels couldn’t be any simpler,” said Brandon Bennett, Code Compliance director for Fort Worth. “But the results are astonishing when it comes to cleaning tons of trash pollution from waterways in a short period of time.”

“This project is truly about partnerships, not only at the city and regional levels but at its core,” said Darrell Andrews, assistant director of TRWD’s Environmental Division. “It is intended to heighten awareness of the impact of floatable trash on the river and remind all of us that the solution lies with each of us. The waterwheel uses technology that improves upon the current efforts utilized by this partnership on keeping the Trinity clean.”

In partnership with TRWD and Streams & Valleys Inc., the City of Fort Worth is seeking to reach its fundraising goal of $1.2 million to build and install two waterwheels.

There are seven levels of sponsorship, and though the City is still seeking Title Sponsor Donors, any donation is welcome. The implementation of the waterwheels is a significant part of the City’s and its partners’ effort to educate residents on the litter problem and to improve water quality.

Donations can be made online or by check to Keep Fort Worth Beautiful or through Streams & Valleys Inc.

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