Hydraulically Driven Grinders to Mitigate Mussel Shell Debris

Project ID: 1847
Principal Investigator: Bryan Heiner
Research Topic: Invasive Species
Funded Fiscal Years: 2018, 2019 and 2020
Keywords: None

Research Question

Can hydraulically driven grinders be used to effectively manage mussel debris at Reclamation facilities?

Need and Benefit

Immediately following the 2007 discovery of mussels in the lower reaches of the Colorado River, Reclamation's Lower Colorado Region began to monitor and gather as much information on the mussel's spread, survival, and the extent to which it can affect water supply and power generation facilities. Even with this knowledge, Reclamation is still challenged with managing the impacts of this species at infested facilities.

In particular Parker Dam, on the border of California and Arizona has seen extremely large populations of quagga mussels. In early 2008, mussel colonies affected generator seals and plugged the dam's domestic water intake. In addition, large numbers of mussels can be found on gate structures and trashracks. These problems have been compounded by larger than normal aquatic weed loads and increase debris loading in piped systems.
With the infestation in the Lower Colorado Region, operations and maintenance have been impacted by a significant increase in mussel shell debris. Mussel shell debris is entrained in various piped systems (predominantly cooling water) within the facility either during normal operations or following dewatering for maintenance. To date, most facilities manage this increased debris load using conventional strainers and manual cleanout. However, strainer capacity can be easily exceeded by heavy shell debris loads.

Reclamation could benefit greatly from having a grinder method to reduce shell debris impacts thereby reducing maintenance costs.

All regions dealing with mussel-related impacts (currently and in the future) stand to benefit from this project.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Please contact research@usbr.gov about research products related to this project.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20