About 45 people attended a hearing Saturday morning on ways to control and possibly eliminate the zebra mussel without harming the environment.
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., presided at the session in City Hall and said a bill, to be introduced within two weeks, would includes $25 million to deal with the zebra mussel problem.
An infestation of the small European mollusks is spreading through the Great Lakes, and fast-growing colonies threaten to block water intake pipes.
Moynihan, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee on water resources, transportation and infrastructure, brought a 3-inch pipe clogged with mussels to the hearing to illustrate the problem.
Before the session, he had toured the nearby Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. Steam Station.
Randy Eshenroder, senior scientist of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, suggested searching for chemicals or other means to kill the mussels, setting up an information network on all research and establishing procedures for confining the mussels to the Great Lakes.
He recommended the type of program that was used to control the sea lamprey. It involved sterilizing the males.
Philip E. Weller, executive director of Great Lakes United, based at Buffalo State College, urged efforts to prevent exotic species like the zebra mussel from entering the Great Lakes. He also called for developing environmentally sound measures to deal with those that do get in.
Remedios K. Del Rosario, Detroit's assistant director of water supply operations, noted that the city's water intakes were among the first affected.
Two intake pipes in the Detroit River have mussels, but water flow is not expected to be reduced for another year, Ms. Del Rosario said.
The city has constructed a chlorination facility at one of its intakes and monitors the number of free-swimming mussel larvae. It also plans annual inspections.
Mechanical methods of removing the mussels also are being considered, but they are time-consuming and expensive. Monroe, Mich., however, had to go that route after the mussels clogged its water intake, forcing a hospital and high school to close because of a lack of water.
Assemblyman William Parment, D-North Harmony, suggested the state and federal governments look into funding additional pipes for water intake systems. One could be cleaned while the others maintain the water supply.
Robert Henderson, Niagara Mohawk supervisor of results, said heating water to 90 degrees Fahrenheit kills the mussels. The corporation is working on refining this method.
The utility also is looking at chlorination or biocides as part of a pilot program, as well as coatings that would not permit the mussels to bond to surface.
Michael Bednar, Dunkirk's public works director, offered the city's water filtration plant, which has a minimal infestation and is near the power plant, as part of a "natural" laboratory for mussel research.