Newport Beach City Manager Update:

Water Wheel Trash Interceptor

By Guest Contributor Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager – July 17, 2023

Source: Newport Beach Independent Newport Beach City Manager Update: Water Wheel Trash Interceptor

Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

I am pleased to report that a long-awaited water quality project, the Newport Bay Trash Interceptor, was approved this week by the Newport Beach City Council.

On Tuesday, July 11, the City Council awarded a $3.9 million construction contract to Brea-based Jilk Heavy Construction, Inc. We expect to break ground this fall and begin operations in 2024.

The Trash Interceptor is a sustainably powered, floating trash and debris collection system that will be built in the San Diego Creek between the Jamboree Road Bridge and MacArthur Boulevard Bridge, upstream from the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve.

The Trash Interceptor will greatly reduce the amount of trash and debris that washes into the bay, harbor and ocean areas adjacent to Balboa Peninsula from upstream inland communities of the Newport Bay watershed.

The Newport Bay watershed spans 154 square miles, encompassing the cities of Irvine, Tustin, Orange, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana and Newport Beach, that includes a vast drainage network of storm drains, rivers, creeks and canals.

The Trash Interceptor, modeled after a similar system in Baltimore Harbor, will sit on a floating platform that rises and falls with the tide. The platform will be secured to the creek bottom by guide piles. The platform will hold a 14-foot wheel that spins using power from the creek’s current or solar panels to move a conveyor belt.

Trash floating downriver will be collected in four steps, as shown in the drawing above:

  1. A boom system directs floating trash toward the Interceptor.
  2. A spinning rake moves trash from the boom area to the conveyor belt.
  3. Trash is deposited from the conveyor belt into a collection container.
  4. When full, the container is moved by a short rail system to be transferred to a standard trash truck.

The system is expected to reduce the amount of waste reaching the Upper Newport Bay by 80 percent (from an estimated 100 to 300 tons a year). It will supplement other public and private efforts already in place – such as trash booms, storm drain collection systems, and floating skimmers – that protect sensitive aquatic environments.

I would like to thank our funding partners for making this project possible. They include the State of California, Help Your Harbor/Surfrider Foundation, Ocean Protection Council, and the Orange County Transportation Authority. I also want to thank Senator David Min and Assembly Member Diane Dixon for requesting and advocating for the State funding, and the members of the City’s Water Quality/Coastal Tidelands Committee for their ongoing support and advocacy of the project.

I look forward to bringing you further updates as we begin construction this fall.

Source: Newport Beach Independent Newport Beach City Manager Update: Water Wheel Trash Interceptor

2 replies
  1. Curt Mitchell
    Curt Mitchell says:

    This is great news for our harbor and beaches health. Although this is needed in the Santa Ana river inlet even more than the San Diego inlet.
    The amount of rubbish that is deposited on both the northern beaches of Newport and the state beaches of Huntington definitely outweighs any coming out of the harbor. It would be fantastic to see both of these inlets covered by this technology.
    Curt Mitchell (Newport Shores)


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Newport Harbor’s newest and largest public dock is now open for recreational boaters.

On Friday, March 29 I had the pleasure of joining Newport Beach City Council members along with officials from the County of Orange, the Irvine Company and State Assembly to celebrate the Balboa Marina Public Pier grand opening.

Newport Beach has a handful of iconic attractions that have stood the test of time: The Newport Pier, which replaced the original McFadden Wharf (1888-1939) and is registered as a California Historical Landmark; the Balboa Pavilion, which opened on July 1, 1906 and is the city’s oldest standing building; and the Balboa Island Ferry, which went into service in 1919 to bring cars and passengers across 900 feet of water between Balboa Island and the Balboa Fun Zone.

Michele Gile reports from Newport Beach with Seymour Beek, where many are celebrating that the beloved Balboa Island ferry’s fate is no longer in jeopardy after receiving a $7.9 million grant to convert from diesel to zero-emissions operations by 2025.

The 8th Annual Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival will return to the Balboa Yacht Club, June 7 – 8, 2024 with more than 40 wooden vessels of all sizes on display, and a collection of master artisans and craftsmen at work.

This year’s festival theme is “The Art & Craft of the Wooden Boat” in celebration of the creative artistry, intricate craftsmanship, and timeless beauty of wooden boats.
“Event guests will be able to immerse themselves in the centuries-old artform of wooden boat building, and the fine woodworking and artistic details that adorn the boats,” said event chair Stephen Paljieg. “This year’s event will be bigger and better than ever. Its theme captures the essence of the passion and artistry behind these magnificent, one-of-a-kind watercrafts and the inclusion of the master craftsmen who build and keep them in ‘Bristol condition’ takes it to a whole new level of experience.”

Welcome to a New Year which takes me back to The Who song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” whose message is summarized in the last line, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss” and its meaning is “nothing changes and so don’t get fooled again.” Which is a very confusing way to report on what’s going on in the harbor this first month of 2024. So let me backtrack before throwing a few soft punches.

I ended last week by walking through Basin Shipyard and took a moment to talk to owners Dereck and Dave New. As always this time of year, the yard is packed with Dave reporting that they are two months out. So, if you own a boat with outboards or Pod drives, you better call now and book your annual maintenance to be ready for the spring/summer boating season. The yard was full of new Tiara products, but I’m sure there were many other makes of yachts in the yard, yet the pretty ones always grab my attention first.
Q: From a distance it seemed like a quiet year, no oil spills, tsunamis, down aircraft. So what did I miss?

A: There were a couple of severe weather (wind and rain) events this year. We revived the technology we use to notify mooring permittees of approaching weather and urge them to verify their mooring equipment and lines to ensure all are secure. You may recall, there was considerable attention and communication in anticipation of Hurricane Hilary arriving in August. One other of the severe weather events was a strong Santa Ana which stresses the mooring equipment from a different direction than usual, so we have significant concern about boats staying in place when faced with unusual conditions. All in all, things were fine and we greatly appreciated everyone’s preparedness in the face of these severe events.

2023 was a busy and productive year for the City of Newport Beach, thanks to strong leadership and our extremely professional staff.

We have been working diligently to increase public safety, address quality-of-life issues, and make strategic investments to further improve our great city.

Here’s a look at some of our 2023 successes: