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Hillsboro seeks answers to mussel problem

Staff writer

Hillsboro City Council voted Tuesday to seek engineers’ proposals to abate problems with zebra mussels in the pipes between Marion Reservoir and the city’s water treatment plant.

The invasive mussels have begun colonizing pipes downstream of grates that stop most debris, Senior Water Treatment Technician Morgan Marler said. The mussels’ larvae are microscopic, so they were able to bypass the gate.

A zebra mussel infestation can grow so quickly that it clogs pipes. The city can treat the pipes between the pump house and the treatment plant with chemicals to kills the pests, but that isn’t an option for a 200-foot stretch from the intake structure at the dam to the pump house, Marler said.

Eradicating the mussels throughout the reservoir is unrealistic, she said. Researchers have been unable to eliminate all zebra mussels from any body of water larger than a small pond.

“They’re here to stay and we’re going to be fighting them for a long time,” Marler said.

Another problem of zebra mussels is that they filter water, exacerbating problems with blue-green algae.

Marler said she hopes to partner with the city of Marion, which also gets water from the reservoir.

In other business:

  • The city will buy a 2011 Chevrolet Impala from Midway Motors for $19,601, for a police patrol car. Other bids included $19,250 from GSA for an Impala, $23,308 from Midway Motors for a Dodge Charger, $22,942 from Hillsboro Ford for a Ford Crown Victoria, $20,945 from Midway Motors for a Crown Victoria, and $22,923 from GSA for a Crown Victoria. Mayor Delores Dalke said the city has a policy to buy from local merchants when bids are within 10 percent.
  • La Cabana’s liquor license was renewed.
  • A small stretch of street in Hillsboro Heights was renamed from Elm Street to Orchard Drive because the new Scully Estates office would have been the only building with an Elm Street address.
  • Council member Byron McCarty requested City Attorney Dan Baldwin draft an ordinance prohibiting J-turns.
  • Refinancing two bond issues could potentially save the city about $290,000, Dalke said.

The next council meeting will be 4 p.m. Oct. 20. The council rescheduled the meeting, which ordinarily would have been on Oct. 19.

Last modified Oct. 6, 2010

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