City of San Antonio provides an inside look at keeping the River Walk clean

Lady Eco cleans up more than 115 tons of debris every year around the loop

SAN ANTONIO – Have you ever wondered how the San Antonio River Walk stays so clean? Do you know what goes into the beautification of one of the top attractions in the city?

KSAT12′s Max Massey got an inside look at the Ecology Sweeper Barge named Lady Eco.

“There’s lots of trees and vegetation. Those trees shed their leaves. There’s human made debris as well. So each day, we take our Lady Eco Cleaning Barge out twice a day to sweep the river to collect all of that debris,” Kelly Saunders, with the City of San Antonio’s Center City Development & Operations Department said.

Lady Eco is one of a kind and cleans up more than 115 tons of debris every year, going around the 3.2 mile River Walk loop.

“It has pneumatic arms that stretch out on each side, two of them. And then the nets attach to each arm that collects the floating debris. And then we collect. We also use nets, kind of like a pool net almost, to scoop up anything that it misses,” Saunders said.

Lady Eco is just part of the team, with more than 25 people committed to keeping the area and ecosystem clean. And that includes collecting, power washing, and landscaping.

The cleaning regiment is an integral part of San Antonio’s economy.

“Well, the River Walk is one of the top five tourist attractions in the state of Texas. So it’s very important to us that it looks beautiful and it’s a welcoming place for our residents and for our visitors. So our staff works really hard to keep the river itself and the surrounding area and downtown looking great,” Saunders said.

It truly takes a team to keep the river going.

“There’s a lot of behind the scenes work to keep this River Walk looking beautiful. So next time you come down and enjoy yourself with your friends or visitors, you know, just take a look and you might even see us, you know, the hard at work, keeping the River Walk beautiful,” Saunders said.

About the Authors:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.