How do you fend off a bunch of mollusks that are rapidly reproducing and threatening water intake pipes?
The city explains it like this: "This simple process is comprised of two copper plates with an electrical charge which releases copper ions into the water. The level of copper is enough to inhibit eating, breeding and settling of zebra mussels."
Wichita City Council members will vote this morning on spending about $2 million on the project.
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David Warren, director of the water department, said this is the first time he knows of that copper ions have been used to fend off zebra mussels in a water system — though he said the process is commonly used by power companies.
The process kills algae as well, but it won't impact drinking water in any noticeable way, he said.
The treatment will be so isolated that it won't impact other parts of Cheney Reservoir, he said.
Wichita water department officials began noticing zebra mussels gathering in the city's primary water supply, Cheney Reservoir, in 2007.
The creatures haven't caused any damage yet, but the city has had to clean them out of filtering systems before, Warren said.