Mike Anderson, KSL TV

DWR dip tank clears quagga mussels off boats quicker

By Mike Anderson, KSL TV | Posted - Apr. 8, 2021 at 6:47 p.m.



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OGDEN — The Utah Department of Wildlife Resources demonstrated its new dip tank process to keep harmful quagga mussels away from Utah's reservoirs.

The new tool was developed as a way to clean more boats faster. It will go into service at Lake Powell first.

With a heater and a tank of water, DWR showed how the dip tanks decontaminate boats during a demonstration Thursday.

"To see it actually built and working is pretty exciting and very satisfying," said boater and dip tank developer Garrett Atwood.

"Yeah, to go from essentially a napkin drawing to what you see behind us is pretty rewarding," agreed Johas Hyita who worked on the project with Atwood.

They have first-hand experience in the lines that can build as boaters try to leave the lake.

Hyita said, "A week plus and you leave the lake. The last thing you want to do is sit in a long line and decontaminate your boat. You know, kids crying, wife telling you 'let's leave.'"

It's a problem for the DWR too. The current system can take about 30 minutes, and lines can build fast. They ideally don't want boaters leaving before getting decontaminated.

"So, as that has continued to increase over the years, the urgency to put a system like this in the ground there, to serve the boaters of Utah, it increased and forced us to innovate," said Nathan Owens, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for the DWR.

He had talked about a similar tank system before but it came closer to reality when Atwood and Hyita came along with the same idea.

"I knew once I saw that, that we were going to be able to make this happen," Owens added.

There it was Thursday as 110-degree water was pumped through to clear out the mussels.

"To be able to help stop that from spreading throughout Utah is, I'm really proud to be able to help them," Atwood said.

In addition to the hot water, filters cleaned out the quagga mussels between boats.

The tank will be used at the Lake Powell Stateline Launch Ramp starting May first.

Mike Anderson

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