Fort Worth city staff are working to raise funds to construct a trash-collecting water wheel on the Trinity River.

The water wheel is expected to cost $1.9 million, according to a city of Fort Worth news release. The city has collected about $1.34 million of that total, the release states.

In case you missed it

The water wheel collects and removes trash and debris from the river’s surface using hydropower or solar power, containment booms and a conveyor belt system, according to a city news release.

Waterwheels have been used with much success in other parts of the world, including Baltimore Harbor in Baltimore and Panama City, Panama, the news release states. Fort Worth’s waterwheel will be installed in the Clear Fork section of the Trinity River, near Panther Island Pavilion. Fort Worth’s waterwheel will be the sixth one in the world and the first one in Texas, the news release states.

The city of Fort Worth has partnered with Tarrant Regional Water District, Streams & Valleys Inc. and other sponsoring entities to realize the project.

Zooming in

At a June 4 Fort Worth City Council work session, the city’s Environmental Services Director Cody Whittenburg said the project has multiple benefits. The obvious one is the ability to clean up the river and remove litter floating on the surface, he said, but it also presents an educational platform.

“[We] see this as an opportunity to present an icon of our commitment as a city to keep a clean and attractive city, and also to really invest in that environmental education and promote those concepts of a clean and safe city to future generations at this location on the trail system,” Whittenburg said.

What’s next

Proposals for the water wheel project have exceeded the available budget, Whittenburg told council. However, vendors have secured the price for the water wheel and the price for construction through the end of August while the city works to continue fundraising, he said.

“We hope to come back this fall with some clear understanding of what we've been able to achieve over the summertime and hopefully give you a more clear direction on what that looks like,” Whittenburg said.

Take action

To learn more or to donate to the project, click here. Interested groups can also contact Streams & Valleys Inc. to sponsor the project through a nonprofit organization.