Boom halts pond trash

Published 12:10 pm Saturday, September 29, 2018


The struggle to keep local waterways clean is a never-ending one, as RiverGuard Jeff Turner regularly testifies in his columns. In the latter part of the summer, though, he successfully worked with the city to find a method to help fight the good fight against water pollution.

This boom is located at the Bogart retention pond, and is designed to prevent trash from going through the outward pipe that leads to the Blackwater River. — Submitted | Jeff Turner

A 100-foot long barrier, also known as a boom, has been placed in the Bogart retention pond because that was the farthest downstream location that the device could be used on the canals that lead to the neighboring Blackwater River.

In an email to The Tidewater News, Turner stated, “I devised the concept of using the boom in an untraditional method. Typically, this type of boom is used to collect or trap trash. The goal, however, of this concept is to use the boom to deflect or stop trash from leaving the Bogart pond. That’s why it is deployed in front of the pond’s outflow pipe.”

He said the specially designed boom has a skirt that hangs down to present trash from being pulled under by the strong current. Further, the device rises and falls with the water level fluctuation of the pond.

Turner noted that the city has two main stormwater canals. The Armory Drive system, which is the one for which the boom is deployed, and the Southside system, which drains from the South Street area, and goes under the road at the old VDOT headquarters on its way to the Blackwater.

Those canals later converge back in the swamp behind the sewage treatment plant and the flow into the river.

“Sadly, there is no viable location to place one of these booms on the Southside ditch as that system is by far the biggest contributor of trash into the river,” he added.

“However, I’m still very exited and very pleased that this boom in the Bogart pond will, hopefully, stop about 40 percent of the total trash going into the river from the city stormwater system.”

He explained that his original idea was not used, but understood that the City had to do what it did for cost-effectiveness and feasibility. Once a big rain occurs, he and the City personnel in Public Works will better see how well the boom is performing.

The Franklin Lions Club, said Turner, has also volunteered to help get the trash out of the pond.

As for the device itself, that cost around $2,000 using money from the Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeeper Program before it dissolved earlier this year.

“Thanks to [former] City Manager Randy Martin and Mayor Frank Rabil for believing in my proposal, and thank Chad Edwards and the folks at Franklin Public Works for getting the boom deployed,” said Turner.