You may not have heard of the
Quagga mussel, but this small invasive species can cause large-scale disruptions to habitats, food chains and unfortunately – water systems.
EPCOR’s Anthem Water Treatment Facility has experienced issues with these creatures in the past. Native to eastern Europe, Quagga mussels were first discovered in the Great Lakes in 1988 and had already spread to Nevada by 2007, often entering water systems attached to the bottoms of boats and other watercrafts.
During the treatment process at the Anthem facility, all water is filtered through membrane fibers that prevent virtually all particles, bacteria and viruses from passing. However, when Quagga mussels get into the system, their tiny sharp shells slice right through the membrane fibers, negatively impacting water quality, decreasing production and leading to costly repairs.
One repairman had enough. Senior Operator
Bobby Uong had an idea to filter out the mussels from the start – by inserting a screen at each inlet pipe. He worked with Maintenance Foreman Marc Flores to design the “Bobby Box”, a stainless-steel basket and trap for the mussels. The Eastern Division Maintenance team designed and built each box, installing them with no modifications to the water treatment facilities.
And the boxes work! Since the boxes were put in place, no Quagga mussels have been found inside EPCOR’s treatment facilities or membranes, saving hours of repairs and protecting EPCOR’s infrastructure. This amazing innovation from our very own team shows how EPCOR is a leader in finding solutions that problems that negatively impact our water.