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Breakdown: What are Seabins and why are they being installed throughout the Tennessee River?

Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 10:25 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Thanks to grants from Keep America Beautiful and TDOT’s ‘Nobody Trashes Tennessee’ litter prevention campaign, 18 Seabin devices are in the process of being installed on the Tennessee River and its tributaries.

The project will make the largest network of such devices in the world.

WHAT IS A SEABIN? The Seabin acts as a floating garbage can that pumps surface water through the unit.

HOW DO THEY WORK? Water is sucked in from the surface and passes through a catch bag inside the SeaBin, with a submersible water pump capable of 8.5 pounds debris per hour, plugged directly into either a 110V or 220V outlet. The water is then pumped back into the marina leaving litter and debris trapped in the catch bag.

The Seabin acts as a floating garbage bin that pumps surface water through the unit.
The Seabin acts as a floating garbage bin that pumps surface water through the unit.(SeaBinProject.com)

HOW MUCH DEBRIS CAN THEY CATCH? These devices can remove up to 3,000 pounds of debris a year in addition to microplastics, tiny Styrofoam balls, oils, and gasoline from the water!

With 18 Seabins working on the Tennessee River system, there is the potential of removing 54,000 pounds of debris a year just with these devices!

Each receptacle can remove up to 3,000 pounds of marine debris a year and will also filter out...
Each receptacle can remove up to 3,000 pounds of marine debris a year and will also filter out gasoline, oils, and microplastics from the water.(seabinproject.com)

WHY DO WE NEED SEABINS? In 2017, researches called the Tennessee River, “one of the most plastic-polluted rivers ever recorded in the world.”

Scientists found alarming levels of microplastics in the Tennessee River. The study also found other harmful pollutants that can affect the health of the river, human health, and aquatic life.

Pollution in the Tennessee River is not a new problem. In 2004, it was named the fourth most polluted river in the United States by the American Rivers conservation group.

The Tennessee River starts in Knoxville, flows south through Chattanooga, dips into Alabama, back up through West Tennessee, and into Kentucky.

SeaBins will be installed and managed at some of the following marinas:

  • Pickwick Landing State Park | Hardin County, Tenn.
  • Paris Landing State Park | Paris, Tenn.
  • Clifton RV & Marina | Clifton, Tenn.
  • Louisville Landing Marina | Louisville, Tenn.
  • Volunteer Landing Marina | Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Tennessee Aquarium | Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Harrison Bay State Park | Soddy Daisy, Tenn.
  • Lake Ocoee Inn & Marina | Benton, Tenn.
  • Tellico Marina | Vonore, Tenn.
  • Fontana Village Resort & Marina | Fontana, N.C.
  • Joe Wheeler State Park | Rogersville, Ala.
  • Florence Harbor Marina | Florence, Ala.

Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful is continuing to work with stakeholders to identify the most impactful locations for the remaining Seabin devices.

To have a device installed, hosts must provide electricity, regular maintenance, and track the quantity of litter collected.

Interested parties, such as river-based businesses or local governments, are encouraged to contact https://www.keeptnriverbeautiful.org/ to discuss potential sites.

The 18-Seabin deployment will be the world’s largest network of such devices in a river system.
The 18-Seabin deployment will be the world’s largest network of such devices in a river system.(Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA) has said nearly 70 percent of the trash found in rivers come from inland sources, like litter left on streets that flow into storm drains, which flow into rivers.

This is why TDOT said it got involved in the new Seabin clean-up system.

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