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Water-Related News

Sarasota County installs 10 WaterGoats to corral garbage

Sarasota County installs WaterGoats to gobble up floating garbage

Sarasota County's ongoing commitment to water quality reached another milestone with the purchase of 10 floating waste collection systems called WaterGoats.

The floating waste collection systems, which will be installed in local waterways, were first recognized as a solution through data collected by the Floatable Pollution Prevention Program. With over a year of data collection, the program helped identified 10 locations compatible for device installation. 

WaterGoats get their name for "eating" litter that doesn't belong in our waterways. WaterGoats skim the top eight inches of the water to accumulate trash for collection and disposal, helping to further prevent pollution in waterways.

"These devices will be a tremendous help, because they collect floating trash debris that could impact area waterways or restrict water flow. WaterGoats are easy to install and maintain making them a sustainable option," said John Ryan Sarasota County Public Works Stormwater Environmental Utility manager. "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, and is expected to collect more than 10 pounds of trash per week. Two more units were also installed in the Hudson Bayou Project which will impact the bay and surrounding area. The remaining units are scheduled for installation through this year and staff will continue to monitor data on each site.

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 science curriculum.

"We're grateful for the partners who helped make this project a reality, including The Recycling Partnership, Sarasota High School, Sarasota County Stormwater, and Watergoat, LLC.," said Jeff Vredenburg, sustainability program educator for the City of Sarasota. "During the lifetime of this device, it will keep thousands of pounds of trash from entering our waterways and will provide invaluable educational opportunities for local students on pollution prevention. "

According to Mark Maksimowicz, the leader of the non-profit WaterGoat, more than 100 tons of trash have been harvested from the 24 WaterGoats installed at major drainage outfalls into Tampa Bay. WaterGoats can be found in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties so far, with Sarasota the most recent addition.

To learn more about the county's water quality initiatives visit or call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000.

photo of WaterGoat