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State officials testing out litter abatement tool in Baton Rouge neighborhood

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BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana State Capitol, the place where problems are supposed get solved, is surrounded by the effects of one of those problem that needs solving.

"It's overwhelming," Spanish Town resident Marie Constantin said.

The trash problem in the Capitol Lakes is nothing new. Residents like Constantin have been fighting it for years.

"For 15 months, we cleaned these shores probably 15 times over, and we picked up 1,200 bags of trash. If it was the size of a quarter or larger we picked it up," she said.

According to Constantin, the trash that flows through here comes in at a rate of 41 bags a month. What's there now is about a month and a half of accumulation, and that's with intervention from the Department of Environmental Quality.

"The boom is not catching this," Constantin said.

Earlier this month, DEQ installed a prototype litter boom at the smaller lake. It's designed to catch trash like this before it gets here, but it clearly needs work.

"They're in the process of tweaking it, adjusting it. They're hoping that the boom will be successful to grab this stuff, but it's going to take a number of months."

On top of everything, volunteer clean-up efforts have stopped due to a snake infestation.

Constantin is happy the state is doing something but says the lakes can't wait for the boom to be perfected. She's also asked the city to intervene.

"We asked the city if they would clean an emergency boom if we paid for the boom and had it dropped in. And they said they couldn't afford it," she said.

DEQ is currently in the process of working on the design and plans to experiment with different versions soon. The current boom was designed by DEQ engineers and assembled by prisoners.

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