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New device clears trash out of the Jordan River

SALT LAKE COUNTY – We all know the Jordan River can be a huge mess, but Salt Lake County and conservation experts believe a new trash boom can go a long way toward cleaning up the trash floating in the water.

It’s hard to quantify exactly how much junk has drifted down the Jordan River into the Great Salt Lake.  However, the Nature Conservancy Director of Stewardship Chris Brown says the waterfowl are suffering because of it.

“I’ve seen waterfowl with bottles around their head and all kinds of plastics caught in their legs,” Brown says.

Brown says he’s seen bike tires, gas cans and even a TV in the river that they can’t remove.  The garbage frequently clogs up near the Burnham Dam, and when that happens, Brown says sometimes the only way to clear it out is to flush it into the lake.

“This project, here, is so we can catch all that debris, try to get it out of the river, clean up the wetlands and clean up the Great Salt Lake,” Brown said.

The boom has anchor points in both Salt Lake and Davis counties, and Brown says it will still allow people recreating to use the river.

“It actually has a passage installed if you have kayaks that happen to come down or boats. We had to keep the river passage open. That was one of the things the state wanted us to do,” Brown says.

Salt Lake County Flood Control will be watching the boom through a webcam, and they’ll make trips as needed to collect the trash and haul it away.

(Photo Credit: Jed Boal, KSL TV)