nuisance-tier-2-pic-1Aqua Sierra, Inc.’s biologists and engineers have extensive experience in the assessment, design, and implementation of proprietary technologies to mitigate biofouling and target aquatic nuisance species. Biofouling, the undesirable accumulation of aquatic microorganisms, plants, and animals on artificial surfaces, leads to decreased efficiency and function of industrial infrastructure and can crowd out native aquatic species. The most common species responsible for biofouling are freshwater bryozoan (sponge), algae, and mollusks such as Zebra Mussels, Quagga Mussels, New Zealand Mud Snails, and Asian Clams.

An understanding of the water chemistry, accurate species identification and knowledge of life cycles and periods of vulnerability are all essential to effectively manage biofouling. While some of these nuisance organisms are native to our waters, many have been introduced and can quickly out-compete other species for food and habitat or infest industrial infrastructure. Once the organisms are present in a system, they are often difficult to eliminate. Treatment to limit or prevent the colonization of these organisms is best done utilizing an integrated pest management plan.


“We have found the system to be an effective solution for the Bryozoa problem and have had virtually no issues with baskets clogging and gears stripping (due to the formation of Bryozoa) since the installation of the system in fall of 2005.”

-Kurt, Brighton, Colorado


Whatever your biofouling concerns the team at Aqua Sierra, Inc., staffed by dedicated professionals bringing decades of experience to the field, are ready and available to assist in the management of fouling organisms. Contact ASI today to discuss control options to keep your water moving.


Aqua Sierra, Inc’s Copper Ion Injection Systems


The War for our Water

zebra-mussels In the mid-80’s Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and Quagga Mussels (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) were first introduce into North American waters. Within one year of their discovery they were firmly established in the lakes and rivers of the Great Lakes Region.

Zebra Mussel   Quagga Mussel

Reaching sexual maturity in their second year, each female mussel is capable of producing between 30,000 to 1,000,000 eggs per spawning event.
The planktonic veligers (larval mussels) are readily spread via water currents or carriers (birds, boats, and industry) and are capable of swimming between 5 days to 5 weeks in their search for optimal colonization conditions. These invasive mussels are able to attach to any firm substrate (biological, mineral, or man-made).

The stable substrates found on industrial infrastructure are the preferred colonization sites of these species and have been found to host densities up to 11 times greater than on surrounding natural substrates.

At the intake canals of the Detroit Edison Power Plant zebra mussel densities were measured at 750,000 animals per square meter.

With few to no natural constraints (predators, parasites, or diseases) to hold them in check, the ecological and economic ramifications of this invasion are far reaching and imminent!

The Bully in the Schoolyard

nuisance-tierBoth Zebra Mussels and Quagga Mussels are prolific filter feeders. The efficiency of their feeding coupled with their extraordinary capacity to colonization any solid substrate has enabled them to dominate the bottom of the food chain. In addition to outcompeting native bivalve species, they actively reduce forage for fish that feed on plankton which effects on larger game fish populations. Reduction of biological productivity also increases water clarity allowing greater photic penetration, expanding the range and growth of aquatic plants which can prove problematic in their own right.

The avarice consumption of resources and habitat by these invaders has placed many aquatic ecosystems and their dependent economies on the verge of collapse.

With few to no natural constraints (predators, parasites, or diseases) to hold them in check, the ecological and economic ramifications of this invasion are far reaching and imminent!

Keep Your Water Moving

Zebra MusselsZebra and Quagga Mussels are just the vanguard of the assault on water dependent industry. Freshwater bryozoa, Asian clams, New Zealand Mud Snails, and microbial bio-films reinforce the attack on water related infrastructure. The nutrient rich, warm waters of intake ponds are the perfect spawning grounds for these nuisance species, which then release their larva into adjacent industrial intakes.

If unchecked the larva will quickly attach to and colonize:

  • Raw Wells
  • Screen Housing Walls
  • Traveling & Stationary Screens
  • Strainers
  • Irrigation Lines
  • Sprinkler Heads
  • Intake Pipes


  • Trash Racks
  • Bar Racks
  • Culverts
  • Waterways
  • Inlet Condenser Waterboxes
  • Settling Takes

These colonies severely restrict water flow to industry and the related repair, replacement, and maintenance costs can quickly climb into the millions of dollars per institution. The combined economic effect of Zebra and Quagga mussels in the Great Lakes Region alone is estimated to be in the billions of dollars since their introduction in the 1980’s.

A Proven Solution

bio-fouling-tier-2Since the 1700’s, copper (Cu) has been used as a repellent for biological fouling by bivalves and other aquatic organisms. While plating plant infrastructure with pure copper would be cost prohibitive, the injection of copper ions (Cu2+) into the system can be used to target specific nuisance species, treating them at their most vulnerable life stages, and making settlement untenable.

Our systems create an ionized solution of Cu2+ and Aluminum Hydroxide (Al(OH)3) for a multi-tiered protection of your infrastructure.

Using electrolytic dissolution our modular units produce the Cu2+ ions and Al(OH)3 flocculent from rechargeable copper and aluminum anodes.

The Cu2+ is injected into the system at 10ppb over ambient levels, which is within EPA limits and species specific in its toxicity. When used in conjunction with Cu2+, Al(OH)3 forms a copper rich complex that coats the infrastructure and impedes the settlement of veliger mussels. The copper also actively treats and protects industrial infrastructure from corrosion by microbial biofilms.

Additional mussel mortality is caused by the Cu2+ ions as they inhibit filter feeding by the planktonic veligers. If ionic concentrations are maintained veligers death can occur within 96-120 hours as nutrient reserves are exhausted.

Furthermore Cu2+ ions impede the formation of attachment threads from the mussel’s byssus, allowing the settling veligers to be flushed through the system. The Cu2+ ions can also treat established colonies inside of the system, causing mussels to release from the substrate and be flushed from the system once toxic levels of Cu2+ ions have been ingested.

When deployed at plant or facility intakes, these systems can effectively, efficiently, and cost effectively protect the entire system from a host of biological fouling agents.


The Cost of Biofouling Treatment

Aqua Sierra Inc.’s Copper Bio-Guard™ injection systems provide complete treatment at a fraction of the cost of other treatment options.

nuisance tier 2 CU ion unitOur systems have low installation costs, are easy to maintain, have no costly chemicals, produce copper concentrations within EPA approved drinking water levels, require minimal power, and effectively target specific nuisance species.

A Reputation for Excellence and Exceeding Expectations

Aqua Sierra Inc. is a complete Design/Build firm.With thousands of systems in the water treatment systems in the field, our satisfied clients will attest to the efficiency and effectiveness of our systems. At Aqua Sierra Inc. we pride ourselves on not just meeting but exceeding your treatment and fisheries goals. We stand behind the integrity and performance of our work and products and conduct regularly scheduled maintenance to assure our clients’ satisfaction.


Contact our team of biologists and engineers today to learn how an Aqua Sierra Inc. and can help protect your investment and infrastructure by managing your biofouling concerns.

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