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Straining against invasion

Updated duplex strainer baskets installed alongside new UV light technology at Glen Canyon Dam to continue the fight against quagga mussels.  

Media Contact: UCB Public Affairs
For Release: Feb 26, 2024
Glen Canyon Mechanic Ben Schoch works on cutting the stainless-steel mesh that will form the duplex strainer baskets. Glen Canyon Mechanic Ben Schoch works on cutting the stainless-steel mesh that will form the duplex strainer baskets.

If left unattended, quagga mussels can cause extensive harm to a facility and the fight against this invasive species is seemingly never-ending. Further efforts are being put into place to uphold systemic stability at Glen Canyon Dam with the installation of new and improved strainer baskets. 

Quagga mussels create plenty of challenges when they are alive and intact and need to be removed. However, as they die and are removed, their shell debris collects in the system which can clog pipes if left unattended. These specific strainer baskets are being used to filter the cooling water that is piped from the penstocks to the generating unit’s air housing and baring coolers.

Strainer baskets have been used at Glen Canyon Dam for many years to aid in the collection of shell debris, but as the mussel infestation has persisted, so has the need for improvements to the baskets and strainer system. In the past it was necessary to stop the flow of cooling water to be able to clean the baskets. Now the baskets are in the same location within the dam, but housed in a new system, referred to as a duplex strainer. Each generator unit has either two or four separate strainers that fork off so that the flow of water can be diverted to one side while the opposite side is cleaned. This allows water to keep running through the system, even when the baskets are being cleaned. 

The new strainer baskets are made from stainless steel and have finer filter holes than previous models, to help collect smaller debris. Each basket has a holding capacity of 2-3 gallons and it is not uncommon for the maintenance crew to clean the baskets on a weekly basis to keep up with the pervasive shell debris.  

Led by AP Kelly and Ryan Hunter, all 64 of these shiny new baskets were custom fitted to each unit and welded in-house by the mechanical crew at the dam. The new baskets have all officially been installed and the crews are looking forward to the new system going live 

The new duplex strainer basket system alongside the newly implemented UV light technology provides significant support to ongoing efforts to combat the ever-present threat of invasive live mussels at Glen Canyon Dam; reinforcing a proactive commitment to ensuring the longevity and resilience of the dam. 


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