Litter Boom Installed on Chattanooga Creek

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- A first of its kind device in Tennessee was deployed this morning along the Tennessee Riverwalk.

Within the last five years, organizations such as Tennessee Clean-Up have said that up to 32 million pieces of microplastics are being dumped into the Ohio River from the Tennessee River.

 To promote the sustainability of the Chattanooga Creek, Osprey Initiative installed the litter boom near the trailhead of the Wheland Foundry Trailhead.

Osprey Initiative is an environmental contractor based out of Mobile, AL that specializes in combatting litter pollution.

A litter boom is a device that catches trash in a waterway by creating a barrier that does not allow for trash to go further downstream. 

Its purpose was demonstrated this morning as trash in the creek was bottled up at the device.

It allowed for easy pick up by volunteers.

Lauren Williams, the project manager for the Osprey Institute, said, “We’ve probably deployed over 5,000 feet of total booms.”

Osprey does most of their work in the southeast, as they now increase their footprint into the Volunteer State.

The process of collecting trash and data will be weather dependent.

Williams said, “So we’ll come and check the devices after a rain event. We’ve seen a single boom collect over 50 pounds just in one rain event, so it really depends on the site, some are higher producing than others.”

In addition to their researcher, students from UTC’s environmental program will participate in this process. 

Those involved, including Chattanooga based environmental group Waterways, hopes this is more than just an investment into Chattanooga’s environment.

Mary Beth Sutton, the executive director of Waterways, said, “We should be able to paddle on Chattanooga Creek, we’ve been watching the turtles. Let’s reverse the stigma of paddling on Chattanooga Creek… Do you want drink the water? No. Do you want to eat the sediment? No. But can you be on the creek? Yeah! Of course.”

Williams said, “It’s awesome to see all of these different projects and all of these different partners coming together with seemingly different goals but the same mission and they all come together to do certain things like this.

City officials such as Mayor Tim Kelly were present for this unveiling this morning.


A volunteer cleaning up trash collected by the litter boom on Chattanooga Creek.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News