Between Austin and San Antonio Texas, lies the college town of San Marcos. It’s home to Texas State University and is famous for its river – the San Marcos that bubbles to life from hundreds of artesian springs right in the city center.

Year round you’ll see people floating down the river on tubes, or kayaking enjoying the refreshing 72 degrees water. It’s also a popular spot for fishing and nature lovers and home to a rare and delicate ecosystem including the rare Texas Blind Salamander.

Texas waterway


With such a valuable resource on their doorstep, it’s no wonder the City of San Marcos wants to protect their river from stormwater runoff, trash, and plastic pollution as much as possible.


A pilot with LittaTrap™ EMMA

San Marcos Public Works decided they not only wanted to protect their river, but they also wanted to identify where the trash was coming from. To do that they decided to install LittaTraps™ to 10 stormwater inlets in different areas of the town for an 8-week pilot test.  Locations varied from the downtown square, near apartments and shopping areas, even on a road that leads to the University campus.

Being a college town, you can just imagine the kind of trash that finds its way into the stormwater system. Everything from cigarette butts, candy wrappers to bottle caps, straws and more.

The LittaTrap™ models chosen were mix of normal configuration, high capacity configuration and the latest Easy Maintenance Manhole Access (EMMA) configuration. These are designed to convey stormwater runoff from the curb inlet into the LittaTrap™ basket which is positioned directly under the manhole access. This feature gives maintenance crews easy access for basket clearing – eliminating the need for confined space entry during routine maintenance.

EMMA LittaTrap™
LittaTrap™ EMMA installation showing easy access.  

Storm tested LittaTraps™

No sooner had the pilot LittaTraps™ been installed in September, than the heavens opened. San Marcos experienced four significant rain events during the pilot period – enough to give the stormwater system a thorough test.

Adam Rossing, Stormwater Systems Manager- Public Works,San Marcos, remarked, “October is one of our wettest months and so this was the perfect opportunity for the 8 week pilot. After the rainfall many of the catch baskets were at capacity and the decision was made to move to monthly cleaning during the rainy seasons.“

San Marcos City has 2 vacuum trucks which they will utilize for basket clearing and they may increase or decrease service frequency as more data comes to hand.

But what is clear is the LittaTraps™ were doing their job with the catch baskets near to full of gross pollutants from road-sediments, organic material, trash and debris, Jared Steedley, of GeoSolutions who distributes EnviroPod™ LittaTraps™ in the Southwest region says about the project,

“This Pilot project proved what Adam and I predicted. While every catch basin captured some debris, the bulk of the plastic, cans, and general trash was collected around the downtown square. This area has constant foot traffic, all streets are lined with parking spots, and many of the establishments are restaurants/bars.”

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