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The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas, 1771), in North America: impact on raw water users

November 6, 1989

The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas), is a small mollusc native to the Black, Caspian, and Azov Seas that was discovered in Lake Erie of the Laurentian Great Lakes of North America in 1988. Its presence there raises immediate concerns for users of raw water because it can become abundant enough to obstruct the flow of water through pipes, hoses, screens, and condensers. Biofouling attributed to this mussel was observed at several power plants, water treatment plants, and food processing and industrial facilities along Lake Erie in 1989. Estimated densities at one power plant intake canal were as high as 700,000 per m2. In addition, large numbers were found in main steam condensors and in the service water system, threatening the water supply for cooling, fire protection, and dust suppression systems. Municipal water intakes along the Canadian and United States shorelines have also been impaired. In one southeast Michigan city, drinking water withdrawal from Lake Erie was reduced 45% by the mussel. Routine checks of raw water supplies for free-floating zebra mussel veligers are reommended to determine if reproducing adult populations are present in local water bodies. After an early alert, raw water intakes could be protected to alleviate damage from the biofouling zebra mussel.

Publication Year 1989
Title The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas, 1771), in North America: impact on raw water users
Authors Ronald W. Griffiths, William P. Kovalak, Donald W. Schloesser
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Report
Index ID 70006545
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center