Resistance of Protective Coatings and Pipe Linings to High-Pressure Water Jets Used for Invasive Mussel Removal and Cleaning

Project ID: 1740
Principal Investigator: Josh Mortensen
Research Topic: Invasive Species
Priority Area Assignments: 2012 (Zebra and Quagga Mussels)
Funded Fiscal Years: 2011 and 2012
Keywords: None

Research Question

Since early 2007, invasive mussels have been found in Reclamation waters, significantly impacting many areas of the water infrastructure. Colonies of mussels have caused degradation of dam facilities, spillways, power turbines, pumps, and numerous other components of the infrastructure. In water distribution, transmission, utility, and municipal pipelines, colonization of mussels has caused fouling and decreased flow capacity.

To remedy this problem, researchers recently developed a high-pressure water jetting nozzle that removes mussels that have attached to pipeline walls. When operated from 5,000 to 10,000 pounds per square inch, the water jetting nozzle was very successful in removing mussels from pipes. However, when used, this system also removes valuable coatings and linings that protect the pipes from corrosion and other degradation. The effectiveness of high- pressure jetting nozzles can be greatly increased by determining optimal jetting pressures for pipe linings and protective coatings used on various other hydraulic structures through additional research.

The primary objective of this research is to determine the optimal jet operating criteria that will successfully remove mussel colonization without damaging existing and new coatings on hydraulic equipment (pipelines, trashracks, gates, etc.). The durability of a variety of coatings will be tested, including new coatings developed in the Technical Service Center's Materials Engineering/Research Laboratory, existing coatings, and common linings used in pipelines. It is expected that methods of water jet nozzle operation developed in this research will be widely applicable to hydraulic equipment and infrastructure throughout the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation). It is also expected that determining the resistance of protective coatings to high-pressure water jets will provide criteria that are directly applicable to a variety of high-pressure cleaning systems.

Need and Benefit

Reclamation facilities have already seen impacts to infrastructure and equipment due to invasive mussel species. Facilities in the Lower Colorado Region have particularly been affected. Invasive mussels have colonized in pipelines, on dam faces, trashracks, turbines, and a variety of other equipment. Colonization of invasive mussels is expected to continue in the future along the Lower Colorado as well as other locations throughout Reclamation facilities. In order to protect Reclamation facilities from continued mussel invasions, it is imperative to develop effective methods of removing mussels from the water infrastructure.

Water jetting is a valuable method of mussel removal because it is applicable to a variety of hydraulic infrastructure including inside pipes and in between trashrack bars where removal is difficult. Also, water jetting may be used in conjunction with other methods such as trashrack cleaners and protective coatings. Research of impinging water jets on protective coatings is particularly important because operational pressures affect the overall effectiveness of the coatings as well as mussels removed by the jet itself. Development of criteria for optimal water jet operation with a variety of existing and newly developed protective coatings and pipe linings will be beneficial to all facilities within Reclamation.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Coating and Lining Resistance to High-Pressure Jets Used to RemoveInvasive Mussels (final, PDF, 190KB)
By Joshua Mortensen
Publication completed on September 30, 2012

This bulletin summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

Resistance of Protective Coatings to High Pressure Water Jets for Invasive Mussel Removal (final, PDF, 1.1MB)
By Joshua Mortensen
Report completed on February 28, 2013

Describes hydraulic criteria for removing mussels from various coatings using a submerged water jet. Criteria define operation for complete mussel removal without causing damage to the coating.

Do Atmospheric Rivers Cause Heavy Downpours in the Intermountain West? (final, PDF, 229KB)
By Jason Caldwell
Publication completed on September 30, 2013

This bulletin summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

Return to Research Projects

Last Updated: 6/22/20