£1.5m plan to stop Russian mussel invasion
AROUND £1.5 million is to be invested on repelling Russian mussels from a water supply chain that serves more than 40,000 homes in North Lincolnshire.
The invaders are zebra mussels, which originate from lakes in south-east Russia, which have been vexing officials by blocking up the pipes of a treatment works in the region.
The mussels, which can live up to the age of five, have now found a new home in the water treatment works at Elsham, which supplies almost 42,500 homes in the area. Experts from Anglian Water have discovered the mussels are entering the system from the River Ancholme and then at a small storage reservoir at Cadney, where water is pumped to Elsham.
Extensive monitoring in the Cadney area is continuing.
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But Antony Innes, a spokesman at Anglian Water, confirmed the £1.5 million investment at Elsham was aimed at shifting the Russian invaders.
Mr Innes said: “The investment will improve the site’s efficiency.
“It will see the installation of a micro-filtering stage at the works to help remove the zebra mussels.
“They are a non-native species which can cause serious problems to a treatment works by blocking pipework.
“This is an additional stage of the treatment process before water gets treated ready for pumping to our customers.
“Their supply will be unaffected during the work and remain at our very high standards. We are also looking into possible investment to ensure the site is able to handle any future growth in the area.”
The zebra mussels have clogged up some of Britain’s harbours, ships and boats, water treatment and power plants.
Water treatment plants have been most impacted because the intakes bring the microscopic free-swimming larvae directly into the facilities.
Removal of the mussels is difficult because they attach themselves to things with threads which come out of their dorsals. An adult female may produce up to one million eggs per year –- making them hard to eliminate.