Press Release: A unique floatable debris collection boom called The Gate-Or™ that the City first tested in 2009 has now been improved further with a germ killing ability that enhances its value in environmental clean-up. The boom, a device that sits astride a waterway and collects water-borne debris, was first installed in Pasadena as a way to test trash collection at one point rather than having City crews pick up the entire length of a drainage ditch. A fabric catch was installed at the bottom of the boom to trap hydrocarbon and other chemical pollutants.
Inventor Perry Panousis’ WaterWay CleanUp Services offered The Gate-Or™ to Pasadena for testing and the results were encouraging. The partnership has continued, and thousands of pounds of trash and contaminants have been removed from the waterway in the four years since. The newest innovation adds a public health twist by adding a special anti-microbial capturing system called Bacti-Guard Technology™ that traps bacteria and fecal coliform in the fabric sock attached to the boom. The boom’s new germicidal capability makes it a first line of defense against street runoff that could eventually foul our coastal waters. Panousis calls the newly improved boom a “one stop system for use in all waterways.”
While the operation of debris removal is easy to see, the anti-microbial fabric uses some decidedly high tech methods to safely stop bacteria at the boom. Rather than chemical means which could leach from the fabric and harm aquatic life, the boom uses fibers that have the bactericide bonded to it. It works to kill microorganisms by molecular physical penetration, electrostatic attraction and electrocution, while avoiding the problem of bacteria developing resistance as happens with chemical solutions. The fabric targets single cell organisms such as bacteria, yeast, and algae.
Daya Dayananda, the City’s Assistant Director of Public Works, heads Pasadena’s environmental quality team and has a particular interest in a new characteristic of the fabric sock. Besides the obvious advantages of easier and more efficient clean-up of plastic, glass, paper, vegetation and pollutants in our waterways, the fabric is made from 100% recycled material and can be commercially cleaned and reused many times rather than discarded after each use. Not only does this save the City considerable money, it adds another eco-friendly benefit in using the boom. The City’s first Texas Commission on Environmental Quality pre-approved Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) is awaiting funding in order to build a much larger trash/hydrocarbon collection version of The Gate-Or™ which will include the antimicrobial material. The project would enable our community to expand the benefits of this new tool across more waterways.
With the success of the boom’s design and technology clearly proven, Panousis is hopeful other municipalities across the state and beyond will take advantage of this safe, cost-effective way to clean waterways of trash, chemical pollutants–and now disease causing bacteria–from storm water runoff. It’s a challenge that Pasadena has been instrumental in meeting, and WaterWay Cleanup Services wants to spread the good news to other communities with similar needs.