NEWS

East Kootenay combats zebra mussels

06/16/2012 07:16 EDT | Updated 08/16/2012 05:12 EDT

The East Kootenay is getting the first machine of its kind to combat zebra mussels and other invasive species.

A $30,000 mobile decontamination station designed to wash zebra mussels and other invasive species off boats is being built in Utah.

"It has the capability of washing a boat at 60 C and the necessary pressure to kill zebra mussels and quagga mussels," said Marty Hafka with the East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council.

In some of the Great Lakes, zebra mussels carpet docks, boats and the shoreline — gumming up water systems and choking off aquatic life. Canada and the U.S. spend about half a billion dollars a year reacting to the invasive mussel.

"The whole zebra and quagga mussel thing, I liken it to a game of Russian roulette," Hafka said.

He says zebra mussels haven't come to B.C — yet.

"In Idaho they have intercepted boats travelling across the U.S. from the Great Lakes that have been infested with mussels and if a boat can travel from the Great Lakes to Idaho, there's no reason why a boat couldn't travel from the Great Lakes to Alberta or British Columbia."

The decontamination station is scheduled to arrive on Kootenay lakes this summer.

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