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Helping Clients in Zebra Mussel Fight

Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Zebra mussels are back in the news, and as they spread farther into North Texas, Freese and Nichols is helping to address the threat posed by the invasive species.

(Star-Telegram article: Officials bracing for spread of zebra mussels​)

So far, the major impact of zebra mussels on our clients has been that North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) has lost access to water supply from Lake Texoma because of mussels in the lake. In addition, there is concern that water supply diversions would introduce zebra mussels into other lakes. 

To alleviate that concern, NTMWD is developing a pipeline to deliver raw water from Lake Texoma straight to its water treatment plant in Wylie. This project will allow Lake Texoma water to be used without the risk of mussels spreading to other lakes. Freese and Nichols is taking the lead in design on the emergency pipeline project. Brian Coltharp, Group Manager, Water/Wastewater Transmission and Utilities, is overseeing the project. 

We are also helping NTMWD with emergency response planning and conservation efforts needed because of the reduced water supply. Tom Gooch, Group Manager, Water Resource Planning, is overseeing that. In the long term, Tom says, zebra mussels will provide operation and maintenance challenges to our clients.

Zebra mussels arrived in the United States in the late 1980s and have spread to 600 lakes, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. They clog public-water intake pipes, damage boats, sink buoys, and make water recreation hazardous because of their razor-sharp edges. There is no known way to eradicate them once they are established in a body of water.

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