Interceptor Stops Trash From Entering Wolf River

Interceptor Stops Trash From Entering Wolf River

Every day trash gets carried from neighborhoods rivers. A device in place by the City of Memphis catches garbage at the last second.

MEMPHIS, TN ( - Walking down to the interceptor at Wolf River Harbor in Uptown Memphis, you immediately see why it’s there. 

“Since April 2012 we’ve picked up about 230 55 gallon bags.” says Paul Patterson, the administrator of environmental engineering for the City of Memphis

Scott Morgan, an engineer that worked on the project adds “It’s a polyethylene skirt that corrals all the trash as it comes out of the basin.” 

It’s not just bottles and cans, everything from flip flops to televisions find their way through the drainage system. 

Think about it this way; if this interceptor wasn’t in place all of that junk, would end up in Wolf River Harbor

Patterson says he’s noticed a change in the short 18 months.

“There’s still going to be some (litter), but I really think its making a difference,” Patterson said.  

The $900 thousand device is cleaned out on an as needed basis with skimmers, similar to what’s used to clean a swimming pool. 

Morgan says it’s a project he’s happy with so far, but it comes with a bittersweet taste. 

“It’s a great project to do. It’s proven successful but it’s unfortunate that we have to do something like this to keep people from littering.” Patterson adds with a sense of frustration in his voice, “It reinforces the fact that we still have public education to do. We have some behavioral changes that we need to work on.” 

The department of public works says the project was recognized with an award for its innovative design. In fact, Morgan said they’re working on plans for other smaller versions around the city.

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