Garbage scow

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A typical garbage scow used in Amsterdam

A garbage scow is a large watercraft used to transport refuse and garbage across waterways. It is often in the form of a barge which is towed or otherwise moved by means of tugboats; however, many are also self-propelled. They are most common in large, coastal cities, such as New York City,[1] who may transport collected trash to neighboring ports for disposal or, occasionally, even illegally dump the payload at sea.[2][3]

At times, garbage scows have been used to secretly transport illegal narcotics. In 1948, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported a major bust of narcotics smugglers by United States customs guards and NYC police, with city sanitation workers searching through 20 tons of garbage on a scow in New York Harbor to search for over $1 million in drugs concealed there.[1]

In another case, during the era of prohibition, a garbage scow (also in New York) was used to smuggle 1000 cases of liquor from New York's "rum row".[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hunt for Narcotics Worth $1,500,000 on Garbage Scow". Milwaukee Journal. June 26, 1948. Retrieved 2 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "STATES & CITIES: Garbage". Time. June 1, 1931. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Peterson, Iver (August 31, 1987). "New Concern Raised By Waste-Dumping In Atlantic Off L.I.". New York Times. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Garbage Scow Carries Booze". San Jose Evening News. July 30, 1930. Retrieved 2 December 2010.