Chlorination for Dreissena polymorpha control: old war-horse for the new pest?

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The various chlorination regimes employed in industrial cooling water systems to control Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas) are illustrated. Literature data on lethal and sublethal effects of chlorination on D. polymorpha are presented and gaps in knowledge are identified. The data show that various factors can influence the chlorine tolerance of D. polymorpha, among which mussel species, mussel size, spawning season, acclimation temperature and status of attachment. Inherent limitations of this method of biofouling control are highlighted and recent technological advances are indicated. Chlorination will continue to dominate industrial biofouling control scenario until more economically and ecologically viable alternatives are developed.


The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, is an aquatic nuisance invasive species originally endemic to the basins of the Black and Caspian Seas (Morton, 1997). D. polymorpha is one of the most commonly occurring mussel species in the large rivers, lakes and canals of Europe (Neumann and Jenner, 1992), the eastern part of Canada and the United States (Bidwell, 2009; Pollux et al., 2009). The water intake pipes at municipal plants and cooling water systems of industrial plants and power stations often experience fouling problems caused by the zebra mussel (Jenner et al., 1998). The most important features of this species with regard to fouling of cooling systems are high fecundity of adults, the great dispersal capacity of larvae and the production of byssus threads for attachment on hard substrata (McMahon, 1996; Morton, 1997). Extensive settlements of zebra mussels in the industrial cooling conduits can cause reduction in flow rate (Rajagopal, 1997), blockage of condenser tubes (Jenner et al., 1998), reduction in heat transfer efficiency of condensers (Claudi and Mackie, 1994), and corrosion of tubes by deposition of silt and bacterial slime (Characklis et al., 1985; Rajagopal, 1991). In addition, drinking water plants often have problems with zebra mussels in their distribution pipelines where mussels reduce flow by increasing frictional resistance, thereby causing higher pumping costs (Schalekamp, 1971).

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