Gwynns Falls trash wheel will be the biggest yet — and it needs a name - Baltimore


Oct. 28, 2019 3:28 pm

Gwynns Falls trash wheel will be the biggest yet — and it needs a name

Baltimore's fourth trash wheel will be located at the mouth of the falls. Help put a name to the sustainable sensation.
A rendering of Baltimore’s future trash wheel at the Gwynns Falls.

A rendering of Baltimore's future trash wheel at the Gwynns Falls.

(Rendering courtesy Ziger/Snead Architects)

A fourth trash wheel is coming to the Baltimore’s foremost floating family.

Expected to start churning next spring, the new trash-collecting water wheel will be the largest of the group. Stationed at the mouth of the Gwynns Falls near Horseshoe Casino, it’ll be set up prevent trash from flowing into the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River, and the Chesapeake Bay.

“We’ve had our googly eyes set on the Gwynns Falls for a long time,” Adam Lindquist, director of the Healthy Harbor Initiative, said in a statement. “An estimated 400 tons of litter and debris flow into the Middle Branch each year. This new trash wheel will mean cleaner shorelines and less plastic in the Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay.”

Along with the wheel and conveyor belt that draws on solar power of 72 panels and hydro power to gobble up litter, the latest trash wheel will also have a grappling arm to remove debris. With construction and installation completed by trash wheel inventor Clearwater Mills, of Pasadena, the new site also includes a dumpster barge and kayak gate.

Baltimore's fourth trash wheel is coming in spring 2020. (Rendering courtesy of Clearwater Mills)

Baltimore’s fourth trash wheel is coming in spring 2020. (Rendering courtesy of Clearwater Mills)

The trash wheels debuted in 2014 when Mr. Trash Wheel arrived at the mouth of the Jones Falls in Inner Harbor. Since then, new local arrivals in Canton and Masonville Cove have been joined by projects in development beyond Baltimore, including a landlubbing, electric-powered wheel in Brunswick, Georgia.

Like the other three trash wheels, this one will be an instant Baltimore character, with eyes and other anthropomorphic features. And, we can only hope, this will also bring a new social media presence. But it’s up to Baltimore to offer a new name. Healthy Harbor is accepting ideas at the Mr. Trash Wheel website.


The trash wheel found a host of local backers. Maryland Port Administration, for one, provided $500,000 for construction and $200,000 for operation and maintenance, and Baltimore City and Baltimore County are also providing funding.

The project is seeing local businesses come together to support an environmental effort, too. It’s supported by Port Covington real estate firm Weller Development, Continental Realty Corporation and South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, a nonprofit which awards local grants using funds from casino revenue. Wheelbrator Technologies, the operator of the incinerator located nearby, is donating services to convert the trash to energy.

“The Middle Branch is Baltimore’s next great waterfront, and this starts with tangible changes that benefit local neighborhoods,” Brad Rogers, executive director of the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, said in a statement. “When we asked, the community was clear: they want the trash gone. So that’s what we’re delivering.”


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