Keeping creeks clean: Riverkeeper installs two trash traps in LaGrange

Published 7:30 pm Monday, February 1, 2021

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Chattahoochee Riverkeeper is once again finding new ways to prevent trash in the water ways. 

After receiving support from the City of LaGrange and Georgia Power, CRK partnered with WATERGOAT to install a boom-style trash trap on Dixie Creek and Blue John Creek.

On Monday morning, in below-freezing temperatures, Middle Chattahoochee Director Henry Jacobs and a crew from WATERGOAT worked quickly to get the traps installed.

CRK staff and volunteers will routinely clean out trash that accumulates behind the barrier.

“We are looking to keep trash and litter out of our waterways,” Jacobs said. “We know that even in LaGrange, like every other urban area or city, there is debris and trash that is coming off our neighborhoods, our roadways and it’s ending up in our creeks. We wanted to do something to help.” 

Jacobs said that this is the ninth trash trap install they have done, but this was the first in LaGrange. Others are in metro Atlanta that help keep trash out of West Point Lake. 

“In order to find this, we actually did a whole lot of boots on the ground scouting,” said CRK Watershed Protection Specialist Ashley Desensi. “We looked at several different creeks and a lot of different areas. Henry actually came upon this one toward the end of the day when we were scouting, and it was just a perfect location.” 

When Jacobs found the spot at Blue John Creek, there were hundreds of water bottles piled up behind a fallen tree, as well as tires, glass and tennis balls.

“All of the trash we pull out will be assessed using a trash assessment protocol,” Desensi said. “We use that to collect data on the types of trash that is coming out (of the water). I know we are downstream from a sports complex, so we are getting a lot of tennis balls and soccer balls. We will have quantifiable data that we can use to go back to these places and talk to them on ways to better deal with their waste.” 

Jacobs said the trash is flowing into Blue John Creek from the south side of LaGrange. 

“It all flows into our water ways like this one,” Jacobs said. “Even if you can’t see a creek from where you live and there is trash, litter or oil out, it will end up in our waterways. It’s super important that we do something about it.” 

The ‘J’ hook of the trash trap helps capture and trap trash flowing downstream of the creeks. The trap sits above the waterline and also drapes 8-inches below the surface with weighted netting capturing any trash underneath the water. 

The average WATERGOAT captures 117 pounds of debris each month. 

CRK is also hosting a public cleanup at the Dixie Creek site on Saturday, Feb. 6 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. For more information about cleanups or CRK, visit