Drinking water plant designed with zebra mussels in mind

PIERRE, S.D. (KCCR) – As design work continues for a $37 million drinking water treatment plant in Pierre, officials are looking at how to keep a new threat under control: the zebra mussel.  Earlier this year the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department confirmed the mussels in lower Lake Sharpe at Big Bend Dam near Fort Thompson. Pierre’s new water treatment plant will take surface water from the Missouri River through underwater intake pipes and City Administrator Kristie Honeywell says the zebra mussel issue has been considered.

Honeywell says designers are looking at ways to mitigate the mussels risk.

Sampling by G-F & P has confirmed the presence of mussels as far north in the Missouri River as the West Bend Recreation Area in southeastern Hughes County. The mussels produce rapidly and can cling to underwater structures like intake pipes causing flow restrictions. Construction on the plant is expected to begin in 2020.