A New Threat: Zebra Mussels

Zebra mussels have been making their way through the United States and now threaten to take over Texas waterways. Federal regulation aimed at preventing their progression has proven mostly ineffective, and they are wreaking havoc in the aquatic ecosystems they enter. So far, zebra mussels are confirmed in Lake Texoma, Lake Ray Roberts, Lake Bridgeport, Lewisville Lake, and most recently Lake Belton. The are suspected at Lake Worth and Eagle Mountain Lake, resulting in officials keeping a close eye on both lakes.

Known for the striped zebra pattern on its shell and high reproduction rate (a single female can produce over 1 million eggs per year), it does not take long for the mussel to create a noticeable impact on both the natural and manmade aspects of our waterways. Since these freshwater mussels are originally from Russia, there are no natural predators here to limit their numbers. Zebra mussels cause alarming declines in fish and aquatic plants by over-absorbing the essential food source, phytoplankton.

As larvae, zebra mussels drift aimlessly through the water until they find a hard surface to adhere; natural or manmade. Once adhered to a surface, a zebra mussel is permanently secured and will continue to grow until it reaches about two inches in length. They are known to clog water intake systems of municipal water supplies, pipelines, and power plant cooling infrastructures, costing millions of dollars to repair or replace.

Occasionally this invasive species uses rivers and lakes to reach other bodies of water, but the most common way they travel is by hitch-hiking on watercraft. Three simple steps will ensure your watercraft is free from zebra mussels and safe to take into any body of water.

1. Clean.
Remove all foreign objects and wash your watercraft thoroughly as soon as it is out of the loading area. Be sure not to miss crevices or other hidden areas. If your watercraft has been in infested waters for an extended period of time, it is a good idea to have it professionally cleaned with high-pressure scalding hot water before transporting to another body of water.

2. Drain.
Eliminate all water before leaving the area. Don’t forget the wells, ballast, and engine cooling water.

3. Dry.
Allow time for your watercraft to completely dry before launching in other waters.

Just as you work hard to keep your recreational equipment safe for use, we work hard to keep drinking water safe for consumption. Contact us to find out how we can help you with your water treatment needs.

Texas Water: What You Didn’t Know.

With the ongoing drought in Texas showing no sign of relief, water has become a hot topic. From the government to the news, there is a constant flow of information on water usage restrictions, towns going dry, and weather systems that are impacting the drought. We decided to look into the matter a little further, and found a few facts about Texas water you probably do not know.

1. On September 3, 2013, Governor Rick Perry swore in the first full-time Texas Water Development Board. This board, made up of three members, was created in response to criticism that the volunteer panel was working too slow and needed to be replaced. If approved by voters, this board will oversee the $2 billion state water fund that was proposed to fund projects for the next 50 years.

2. Water supplies are so low in some cities, people are drinking their own treated wastewater. Treated wastewater is safe to drink, but holds a certain “ick” factor. Most of Texas has not adopted this approach but if water supplies keep dwindling at their current rate, this will become the norm. Many other states like California and Florida have already adopted treating wastewater to help conserve their water supplies. The water has proven time and time again to be as clean as regular treated water.

3. You may be left wondering where is our water going? About 60% of the Texas water supply goes to agriculture. The next biggest user is energy, with approximately 5% going to coal power and fracking and 2.5% to cooling thermometric plants.

4. There is an additional water source underground that could supply the state for an estimated 176 years, but at the moment it is too salty to drink. Desalination is a process of removing salt and other minerals from saline water. It can cost up to four times that of other water treatments, and even more for actual seawater desalination. But with the state of our water supply, this treatment has become necessary. Our first permanent seawater desalination plant will open on South Padre Island in 2014. Several dozen small desalination plants already operate in West Texas and El Paso, desalinating water from the groundwater supply.

Regardless of how we get our water, water conservation is something we must all adopt to protect our future water supply. We can help you with your water conservation and water treatment needs. Contact us for more information.