GEORGETOWN, Texas – The City of Georgetown is working on a plan to mitigate the multiplying number of zebra mussels in the water treatment plant's intake valves.
- Zebra mussels found in Georgetown water plant
- Injecting chemicals to remove mussels
- Can cause bad smell or taste to water
More than one year ago, zebra mussels were found in Lake Georgetown for the first time. At the start of this year, they made their way inside of the water treatment plant's pipes.
"The mussels like to attach to the pipe and make it rough and as result, it won't flow enough water," said Gary Dishong, Georgetown Utility Director.
Workers will begin to inject a chemical in the pipes later this Summer to remove the mussels.
"We will be able to pull them out of the treatment process before they sit there and decay," Dishong added.
The decaying mussels can often cause a bad smell or taste to the water, similar to Austin's water issue months ago. Austin Water said the issue sparked from the mussels in a pipe that had been out of service at the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant.
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"We are on uncharted territory in Texas. This is new. We are trying to learn as much as we can about it," said Patrick Ireland with Texas Parks and Wildlife Fisheries Biologist.
Ireland works on education and studying the affects the mussels have on a lake's ecosystem. He says once a lake becomes infested, there is no known way to curb the population.
"We don't know yet if the infestation reaches a baseline low level. It will be interesting to see how this pans out," Ireland said.
Texas law requires boaters to remove and plants or animals from boats before leaving a body of water. Texas Parks and Wildlife recommends cleaning, drying, and draining to prevent the spread.
Georgetown's mitigation plan will cost about $80,000 a year and will be done continuously until the issue is under control.