ST. PAUL, MINN. — Professional services firm Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH) designed a “first-of-its-kind” filtration system meant to prevent the spread of a zebra mussel infestation in Shoreview, Minn. The pumping system allows water to move between Sucker Lake and Snail Lake while filtering out zebra mussels or their larvae. Sucker Lake is already infested with zebra mussels, which are designated as an invasive species in Minnesota waterways by the Minnesota Department of Resources.

SEH project engineer Lindsey Roberts-McKenzie said that the system was designed, in part, to respond to the zebra mussel’s biology.

“Zebra mussels remain dormant when the water temperature is below 50 degrees Farenheit,” Roberts-McKenzie explained. “The system operates only when conditions would trigger the mussels to become active.”

When in operation, the pump and filtration system screens out both the adult zebra mussels as well as their “villagers” — the spawn larvae — thanks to a 40 micron filter. The filter also improves the quality of water flowing from Sucker Lake and into Snail Lake by removing many contaminants and particulates.

Roberts-McKenzie said that the system pumps a minimum of 1,800 gallons per minutes, which has allowed enough water into Snail Lake to raise the lake level by three feet.

“That increase in water volume in Snail Lake doesn’t come at a cost to water quality or to zebra mussel infestation,” she said.