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Water Res. 2003 Jan;37(2):329-38.

How effective is intermittent chlorination to control adult mussel fouling in cooling water systems?

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Department of Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology, Section Aquatic Animal Ecology, University of Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, 6525 ED Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Mussel control in cooling water systems is generally achieved by means of chlorination. Chlorine is applied continuously or intermittently, depending on cost and discharge criteria. In this paper, we examined whether mussels will be able to survive intermittent chlorination because of their ability to close their valves during periods of chlorination. Experiments were carried out using three common species of mussels: a freshwater mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, a brackish water mussel, Mytilopsis leucophaeata and a marine mussel, Mytilus edulis. The mussels were subjected to continuous or intermittent (4 h chlorination followed by 4 h no chlorination) chlorination at concentrations varying from 1 to 3 mg l(-1) and their responses (lethal and sublethal) were compared to those of control mussels. In addition, shell valve activity of mussels was monitored using a Mussel-monitor. Data clearly indicate that mussels shut their valves as soon as chlorine is detected in the environment and open only after chlorine dosing is stopped. However, under continuous chlorination mussels are constrained to keep the shell valves shut continuously. The mussels subjected to continuous chlorination at 1 mg l(-1) showed 100% mortality after 588 h (D. polymorpha), 966 h (Mytilus edulis) and 1104 h (Mytilopsis leucophaeata), while those subjected to intermittent chlorination at 1 mg l(-1) showed very little or no mortality during the same periods. Filtration rate, foot activity index and shell valve movement of D. polymorpha, Mytilopsis leucophaeata and Mytilus edulis decreased more than 90% at 1 mg l(-1) chlorine residual when compared to control. However, mussels subjected to intermittent chlorination showed a similar reduction (about 90%) in filtration rate, foot activity index and shell valve movement during chlorination and 3% during breaks in chlorination. The data indicate that intermittent chlorination between 1 and 3 mg l(-1) applied at 4 h on and 4 h off cycle is unlikely to control biofouling if mussels are the dominant fouling organisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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