The Ocean Cleanup has replaced a metal trash interceptor in Guatemala with a two-part barricade system that includes plastic components from East Canton, Ohio-based Worthington Products Inc.
The barricade, called Interceptor 006, was installed in Rio Las Vacas, Guatemala, near where a metal fence system collapsed in a massive flash flood in May 2022, sending a torrent of garbage from the tributary to Rio Motagua, which flows into the Caribbean Sea.
The new barricade consists of a 50-meter Boatbuster-brand boom and a high density polyethylene Odin-brand boom, which are some of Worthington's floating barriers and boater safety systems.
"The Ocean Cleanup won't give up with this project and here we are one year later with another solution that we expect to work properly," Guillermo Sosa, operations manager, said in a video posted on YouTube by the Netherlands-based group.
The video shows Boatbuster-brand, barrel-style floats, which come in a half-shell design, being installed around a 50-meter pole with a fenced skirt and top. Boatbusters are made from a heavy-wall, impact-resistant PE with an unsinkable solid internal core of nonwater-absorbing foam fill wrapping an internal steel profile, according to the Worthington website. The product maintains buoyancy, even when punctured, and the high load-bearing internal steel provides strength and ballast.
In Guatemala, the plan is to catch plastic at the first boom or between the booms if some passes it.
The second Odin boom was manufactured with virgin HDPE in a coextrusion process that Worthington said it was the first to bring to the large-diameter floating barrier market.
The single continuous pipe extrusion process uses one material in two colors to integrate a 4-millimeter outer layer around a 28-mm internal carbon black HDPE layer.
The boom system directs plastic debris to the shore. An excavator then will scoop up the trash and put into trucks to be hauled away for sorting.
The new PE system replaces a metal mesh fence structure.
"As the water wasn't flowing through the fence as freely as anticipated, this caused the water to be pushed downwards towards the foundations of the fence, causing rapid erosion of the riverbed around these foundations. The erosion damage caused the fence to give way under the massive forces of the flooding water and tons of trash," The Ocean Cleanup website says.
The group collaborated with Worthington on the new system.
"The booms are each chained to two concrete foundations on the riverbank. By anchoring the booms using foundations that are on dry land (rather than on the riverbed, as with last year's solution), we can avoid the risk of erosion issues repeating," The Ocean Cleanup says.