Newport Beach Trash Interceptor

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Project Description

Hundreds of tons of trash each year washes from San Diego Creek into Newport Bay, Newport Harbor and ocean-facing beaches. Most of the trash comes through the nearly 160-square-mile Newport Bay Watershed, which includes a network of storm drains, rivers, creeks, and canals.

The City of Newport Beach is pursuing a sustainably powered system that will collect a significant amount of floating trash from upstream sources before it enters the bay and ocean. The $5.5 million Trash Interceptor is expected to reduce the amount of waste entering the Upper Newport Bay via San Diego Creek by 80 percent (estimated between 100 to 500 tons a year).

The project will supplement other efforts already in place – such as diversions, trash booms, storm drain catch basin collection systems and floating skimmers – to prevent trash from entering sensitive aquatic environments.


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The Trash Interceptor will be located in San Diego Creek between the Jamboree Road Bridge and Hwy 73, just 800 feet upstream of the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve.


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Trash Interceptor Collection System image

How it Works

The Trash Interceptor sits on a floating platform that rises and falls with the tide. The platform is secured to the creek bottom by guide piles. The platform holds a 14-foot wheel that spins using power from the river current or solar panels to move the conveyor belt.

     Trash floating downriver is collected in four phases:

  1. A boom system directs floating trash toward the Interceptor
  2. A spinning rake moves trash from the boom area to the conveyor belt
  3. Trash is deposited from the conveyor belt into a collection container
  4. When full, the container is moved by a short rail system to be transferred to a standard trash truck

Funding Partners

  • City of Newport Beach
  • Help your Harbor/Surfrider Foundation
  • Ocean Protection Council
  • Orange County Transportation Authority
  • Department of Water Resources


Project Status

The project broke ground in September 2023, and expected to be operational by December 2024.

The construction phase of the Newport Bay Trash Interceptor project is currently in progress. When completed, a boom system stretching across San Diego Creek will capture floating trash and debris. This will be directed to the Trash Wheel assembly, where it will be lifted by a conveyor system and deposited into haul-off containers situated on a raised railway. Full containers are winched landside where a commercial trash-collection truck empties the containers for haul off-site. Truck access to the loading area is via a graded paved access road to the creek bank from Jamboree Rd.

A critical initial construction task is the installation of (1) guide piles for the floating trash wheel, (2) railway support piles, and (3) boom connection piles.

This webpage with be updated periodically as new information becomes available.


Project Contacts:

Project Manager

Bob Stein, PE, PhD

Assistant City Engineer



Public Works Department


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