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Characterization of zebra mussel transport near a pump intake

Author(s): R. A. Tatara | D. R. Poe | G. M. Lupia

Journal: Journal of Applied Science and Engineering Technology
ISSN 1939-8565

Volume: 2;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Pump intakes | Sedimentation | Shell entrainment | Zebra mussels

The appearance and explosive population growth of zebra mussels have impacted many facilities near water, such as electricity-generating power plants. These mussels can congregate at plant-water-intake structures where proactive maintenance actions, such as mussel kills, must be performed. However, once dead, the mussel debris is a potential contaminant drawn into the plant via cooling water pump suctions; this may affect piping and components downstream of the pump suctions. Thus, it becomes necessary to establish whether sufficient water velocity, from the suction action of a pump, exists to entrain shell debris. Although entrainment data for zebra mussel shells and shell fragments are lacking, this study employs a generalized empirical method based on other types of bivalve shells. Basic pump-suction considerations yield an entrainment volumetric zone in which any shells would be drawn into the pump. A calculated sample zone extends slightly less than one meter from the centerline of the pump-suction pipe and is cylindricalin shape. This approach can be generalized to various pump intake configurations and bivalves, providing a predictive means for evaluating plant system contaminants. Experimental data, although outside the scope of this study, may be used to refinethe modeling.
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