Protecting Your Infrastructure From Zebra Mussels

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David Jackson

Water and Wastewater Treatment Practice Leader

Zebra mussels have quickly become one of the most significant challenges to raw water supply systems in Texas. 

Entities across the state are spending precious capital dollars to protect vital infrastructure and to remove ongoing infestations that block critical facilities and reduce available capacity for water treatment and raw water pumping operations. As the proliferation of these mussels continues to grow, it is imperative to protect this infrastructure from this invasive species.

Public water systems should be aware of existing regulations impacting the fight against zebra mussels.

Public water systems are accustomed to meeting the requirements outlined in TCEQ’s Chapter 290 and the Safe Drinking Water Act, especially concerning the NSF 60 and 61 certifications. When dealing with zebra mussel control systems, additional regulations come into play.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) controls the use of pesticides, which defines a “pest” as “any insect, rodent, nematode, fungus, weed, or any other form of terrestrial or aquatic plant or animal life or virus, bacteria, or other microorganisms.”  By definition, zebra mussels fall under this regulatory requirement.

While the TCEQ does not have the authority to enforce FIFRA, the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Agriculture do have means to enforce this act. As public water systems look to protect their raw water infrastructure, zebra mussel control projects should carefully consider systems that are both NSF 60/61 certified and FIFRA registered.

Through multiple projects, Freese and Nichols has worked to determine the certification and registration status of available technologies, including copper-based molluscicides, copper sulfate, copper ion generation systems, sodium and calcium permanganate, and sodium hypochlorite. There are strategies available to meet both regulations and maintain compliance. Freese and Nichols can help you with these strategies.

Contact James Naylor for more questions on zebra mussel control.

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David Jackson, PE, BCEE, is Water and Wastewater Treatment Practice Leader, based in Dallas.