‘WaterGoats’ installed in area waterways to ‘eat’ litter, Sarasota County Stormwater Division staff announces

10 floating waste collection units have been purchased from nonprofit organization

These are ‘WaterGoats’ installed in Whitaker Bayou. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Sarasota County has reached another milestone in its ongoing commitment to water quality, the county announced this week: It has purchased 10 floating waste collection systems called WaterGoats.

The devices, “which will be installed in local waterways, were first recognized as a solution through data collected by the Floatable Pollution Prevention Program,” a news release explains. With more than a year’s worth of information, the program helped identified 10 locations compatible for the installation of the devices, the release adds.

“WaterGoats get their name for ‘eating’ litter that doesn’t belong in our waterways,” the release says. WaterGoats skim the top 8 inches of a body of water “to accumulate trash for collection and disposal, helping to further prevent pollution in waterways,” the release adds.

“These devices will be a tremendous help,” said John Ryan, manager of the Sarasota County Public Works Department’s Stormwater Environmental Utility, in the release. “WaterGoats are easy to install and maintain, making them a sustainable option,” he pointed out in the release. “We’re anticipating over 400 pounds of pollution being prevented from entering the Gulf and bay waters once all of the installations are complete.”

Sarasota County installed the first WaterGoat in the Whitaker Bayou area on March 12, the release notes. That device is expected to collect more than 10 pounds of trash per week, the release says.

Two more units were installed as part of a county project involving Hudson Bayou, the release notes. The remaining units are scheduled for installation through this year, the release points out, adding that staff will monitor data on each site.

Additionally, the City of Sarasota partnered with Sarasota High School and the county to purchase and install a WaterGoat at the school, “adding data points and local impacts to waterways” into students’ science curriculum, the release continues.

Mark Maksimowicz, leader of the nonprofit WaterGoat, has pointed out that more than 100 tons of trash has been harvested from the 24 WaterGoats installed at major drainage outfalls into Tampa Bay, the release says. WaterGoats can be found in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, the release notes.

To learn more about the county’s water quality initiatives visit scgov.net or call the county Contact Center at 861-5000.