Zebra Mussels Muscled Out

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 @ 03:05 PM gHale

All zebra mussels are gone from the raw water intake tower at Council Grove Lake, KS, water department officials said.

Partial blockage of the outlet pipe was due to buildup of sludge settling into the bottom of the intake tower, which made it easy for zebra mussels to restrict normal flows as they sloughed off the walls and settled to the bottom.

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Four feet of sludge and an additional three feet of zebra mussels were blocking the pipe.

Normally the intake line from the city lake pumps 775 gallons per minute of water into the treatment plant. The flow last week was less than 200 gallons per minute.

As a temporary measure, pumps borrowed from the fire department brought in water from the Neosho River.

In spite of an intensive education campaign, officials first spotted the zebra mussels in the city lake last year. Officials believe the mild winter helped spur rapid reproduction of the pesky mollusks.

After the water department filled the water tank, they turned their attention toward unclogging the lines and dive teams came in and help chip away at the mussels.

Engineers are currently working on solutions to deter any future zebra mussel growth inside the intake water tower as well as the gravity flow water supply line to Council Grove.

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