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Zebra Mussels Causing Problems for Lawrence Water System


A recent inspection found zebra mussels are infesting Lawrence’s water system. The city is looking to start a new treatment to put an end to this problem.

Zebra mussels are small, fingernail-sized animals that attach to solid surfaces in water. In 1989, zebra mussels attached to ships traveling from Russia to the United States. They spread to the Great Lakes and came to Kansas in 2003. Zebra mussels came to Lawrence’s Clinton Lake in 2013 and have since multiplied.

KU professor and senior scientist for the Kansas Biological Survey Dr. James Thorp says it’s almost impossible to get rid of them.

“The problem is that they get into pipes and things like we now have in Lawrence, and you can get rid of them from the pipes,” Thorp said. “You can basically poison them and get them out, but if they’re in a natural environment, like a lake or a river, you can’t get rid of them.”

Zebra mussels spread rapidly so it is essential to find a way exterminate them. The city is still deciding what the next steps are to take.