Ocean Deep Group

Mussel Management

Ocean Deep has been researching, monitoring and controlling zebra/quagga mussels for more than 30 years.

As long-time experts in the field of Mussel Management, we know the protocols to get the most effective results in the shortest amount of time.

Ocean Deep Group is an industry leader in the provision of mussel management services and has been at the forefront of the mussel industry since the introduction of zebra and quagga mussels to the Great Lakes in the 1980’s. Ocean Deep has pioneered the development of mussel control and monitoring protocols through the research, testing and design of innovative technologies that are in standard use today.

Ocean Deep Group is the only company to provide an integrated approach to mussel management which involves measuring critical water system infestation levels in tandem with a preferred control methodology.  Clients that employ this strategy reduce both costs and environmental liability by only initiating treatment programs when infestation levels threaten the facility production.

Ocean Deep offers a myriad of mussel management services including:

  • seasonal monitoring programs,
  • treatment design,
  • commissioning/operation services,
  • permitting,
  • compliance sampling,
  • treatment effectiveness monitoring,
  • reporting,
  • regulatory authority liaison and
  • ongoing research and development of alternative control agents/methodologies.
Pipe clogged with mussels

With over 30 years of experience our Mussel Management Specialists provide innovative, cost-effective solutions to the challenging problems associated with mussel infestations within critical water supply systems (cooling, process, service, fire protection, open water, etc.). Our experts are up to date with a multitude of solutions and protocols and can work with you to implement the most effective options.

Mussel Control

Ocean Deep has been a pioneer in developing and refining mussel management technologies required to monitor and control zebra/quagga mussel infestations and currently utilizes the most up-to-date mitigation strategies for preventing critical water system interruptions or site shutdowns without compromising the integrity and function of the water systems. 

Ocean Deep Group is uniquely able to offer complete turnkey mussel treatment solutions which are site specific and tailored to each facility to ensure maximum effectiveness and cost savings. Our full-service turnkey control operations include:

  • Project Management
  • Environmental permits
  • Mobilization and installation of chemical metering skids, data loggers, chart recorders, analytical instrumentation and dechlorination systems where required
  • Commissioning and ramp up of chemical injection equipment
  • Daily treatment operations and monitoring
  • Compliance monitoring and reporting
  • Treatment effectiveness monitoring
  • Final report production which includes a detailed evaluation of the susceptibility to infestation, risk assessment of critical plant components as well as the development of a detailed management.
Pump clogged with mussels

Mussel Treatment Services

Chlorination Control Treatments

Mussel control utilizing liquid chlorine as the chemical control agent has been in use for over thirty years.  Our patented injection system technology can be used to provide continuous low level chlorination injection throughout the mussel reproductive season to control mussel infestations in facilities that cannot tolerate any mussel infestation within their critical water systems.

Alternately facilities that can tolerate limited infestation, can pursue a short duration fixed interval low level chlorination program which will rid a critical water system of the current level of infestation.  These treatment programs generally last 10 to 14 days and are best employed when water temperatures are above 15⁰C. Short duration fixed interval low level chlorination programs provide a significant cost savings and reduce chemical usage, along with associated risks, by only treating a critical water system once an infestation threshold has been exceeded

Potash Treatments

Potash treatments are suitable for closed water systems (e.g., fire water systems) and certain open water bodies (e.g., reservoirs) where the water body can be isolated with limited inflow and outflow. Potash is a safe, environmentally friendly option that will not harm non-molluscan aquatic organisms at targeted concentrations used for mussel control. Potash is a relatively low-cost option due to a number of factors including:

  • the commercial availability of potash,
  • shortened treatment durations due to superior product efficacy
  • no required detoxification of discharge water
  • effective in both warm and cold-water conditions.

Ocean Deep pioneered the use of potash in closed water systems and was the first to successfully treat an open water reservoir.

Alternative Treatments

Although chlorine and potash treatments are the most frequently used control protocols, Ocean Deep can provide treatment services with the use of other chemicals (e.g., molluscides) and commercially available biopesticides.

Ocean Deep has also provided other non-chemical control solutions such as cathodic protection, UV treatment, filter systems and mechanical cleaning services.

Mussel Monitoring

Mussel monitoring programs are an important component of mussel management, controlling mussel infestations in critical water systems (service water, process water, fire water, etc.) and are utilized to determine the most appropriate control strategy to protect a critical water system from infestation.

Monitoring programs identify whether mussels are entering, settling and surviving within the critical water systems and can be used to determine when a treatment program is required.

To reduce the costs associated with treating mussel infestations, Ocean Deep utilizes the integrated approach to mussel control which includes annual monitoring of free-floating larval and settlement densities of mussels. The data obtained from the monitoring program is used to determine when to implement a mussel control program without compromising the integrity of the critical water system which ensures that issues due to mussel debris are not encountered either between or during treatment programs. Additionally, a monitoring program can be used to determine the effectiveness of a treatment strategy as they provide a timely warning to mussel control program deficiencies that allow in-situ adjustments to be made long before problems due to mussel infestation escalate.

Ocean Deep's monitoring services are site specific and tailored to each facility to ensure maximum effectiveness and cost savings. Our mussel monitoring programs include:

  • Meeting with facility staff to determine critical areas where monitoring should be implemented
  • Monitoring equipment installation as required
  • Project Management
  • Sampling services covering the mussel reproductive season
  • Sample analysis within 5 days of sampling at Ocean Deep's Laboratory
  • Sample analysis summary report within 7 days of sampling includes graphical trending of densities over the season and recommendations based on the results
  • Immediate communication of critical results
  • Final report summarizing the data from the season, with recommendations for the following season
biofouling field technician mussel culture plate sampling


For mussel management, Ocean Deep uses our in-house standard operating procedures developed over the last 30 years of providing mussel monitoring sampling and analysis services.

Open Water Sampling

Collection of raw water prior to entering the critical water system will provide information regarding the reproduction of the surrounding mussel population by tracking free-floating larval and settlement densities entering the critical water systems. The life stages will identify when the current year’s settlement is about to begin and the comparison of mortality rates in the raw water to the in-plant water will determine if the system is at risk to significant infestation. Additionally, the comparison of mortality rates in the raw water to mortality rates within a treated system will provide an early warning to treatment issues.

Biobox Sampling

Bioboxes are aquarium like testing devices that are installed off of areas vulnerable to mussel infestation in critical systems and provide an ideal environment for mussels by simulating low flow conditions. Filtered water samples are obtained from the bioboxes to determine the density and mortality rates of free-floating larvae within the system that are used to track the initiation of mussel reproduction and the onset of infestation. To track infestation settlement substrates within the biobox are sampled and analyzed for settlement stage larvae to track cumulative infestation within the system.

Fire System Sampling

Since fire systems are generally static a continually flowing biobox cannot be installed. Instead, filtered water samples are obtained throughout the system periodically during the mussel reproductive season to determine if mussel larvae are entering and surviving within the system. Dissolved oxygen levels are also tested to determine if the fire system provides a suitable environment for mussel growth and development. The presence of high numbers of viable larvae with low mortality rates in the presence of adequate dissolved oxygen will indicate the system is a risk to infestation and a treatment program may be required. Due to the small diameter pipes and sprinkler heads a fire system cannot withstand even a low degree of infestation without risking lines being obstructed by mussel debris in an emergency.

Sample Analysis & Results

Microscopic analysis of filtered water and plate scrape samples will determine the presence, density, life cycle stage and mortality of mussel larvae in the samples. Filtered water samples are analyzed for free-floating larval densities (/m3) (veligers and post veligers) and plate scrape samples are analyzed for settled mussels (/m2) (pediveligers, juveniles and adults).

Treatment Effectiveness Monitoring

For clients who implement their own mussel control programs, Ocean Deep can utilize the monitoring program data in addition to the application of adult mussel bioassays to determine the effectiveness of the chosen treatment strategy and determine the successful endpoint. Additionally, based on this data, Ocean Deep can also make recommendations for changes to a program that is not successfully treating the system for mussel infestation. Without this data a client would have no information to determine whether or not a treatment was successful at ridding the system of mussel infestation until problems associated with mussel infestation are encountered.

Hamilton Carronade - Ocean Deep Group
Treatment of water systems - Ocean Deep Group

Research & Development

Ocean Deep has been at the forefront of zebra/quagga mussel research since the late 1980s and has partnered with many companies to bring emerging technologies to the market. 

Highlights of Ocean Deep's research include:

  • Thermal control for zebra mussel eradication
  • Ocean Deep developed and implemented a treatment strategy, using potash, for control of mussels in static and semi-static systems such as fire protection systems and golf course sprinkler systems
  • Ocean Deep has developed and patented an UV light technology for mussel control and has been involved in testing new UV technologies which provide greater protection in highly turbid waters
  • Research into ballast water treatment methods to remove invasive species
  • In 2006 Ocean Deep successfully conducted the first mussel eradication from an open body of water using potash in a hydrologically isolated quarry in Virginia
  • In 2014 Ocean Deep successfully conducted the first eradication of zebra mussels from several open water harbours utilizing potash as the chemical control agent
  • In 2019 Ocean Deep successfully eradicated zebra mussel populations from a quarry in Maryland
  • Ocean Deep has designed and implemented studies to determine the efficacy of various environmentally safe coatings products at deterring mussel settlement
  • Ocean Deep was involved in determining the treatment efficacy of the first non-toxic biopesticide from the design and implementation of the first bench scale tests to the first industrial scale trials

With over thirty years experience in mussel management, Ocean Deep has become widely recognized as the industry leader in designing, testing and implementing mussel mitigation strategies. We possess the multi-disciplinary experience to help you bring your mussel control solution to market.

Our Research and Design services are tailored to your needs based on product specific challenges; our services include:

  • Consultation services
  • Project management
  • Custom testing services, from bench scale to large scale applications
  • Design of innovative application strategies
  • Research review
  • Environmental permitting
  • Environmental impact monitoring
  • Risk assessments
  • Cost benefit analysis
  • Development of treatment specific management strategies
  • Engineering design
  • Scientific reporting


Are zebra/quagga mussels impacting the critical water systems within my facility?

  • Mussel monitoring programs will determine if mussels are entering, settling and surviving within the critical water systems by tracking the microscopic free-floating larval and settlement densities within the systems during the mussel reproductive season. Annual monitoring programs allow cumulative infestation to be tracked, which in turn determines when a treatment strategy is required. The monitoring program will consider mussel densities, developmental stages and maintenance information to ensure the system is not impacted prior to or during treatment programs.

How can zebra/quagga mussels be removed from critical water systems without impacting production?

  • There are a variety of vetted treatment protocols to safely eliminate mussel infestations within critical water systems. These include both continuous (throughout the mussel reproductive season) and non-continuous (fixed interval, short duration) chlorination programs that work well in once through systems and potash treatments that work well in closed systems and certain open water applications. All treatment protocols track the effectiveness of the program to ensure any control program deficiencies are identified early to allow in-situ adjustments to be made before problems due to mussel infestation escalate and to identify the endpoint of treatment.

How to determine if a treatment program is effective?

  • Ocean Deep identifies the critical components of treatment success including compliance requirements and the successful elimination of in system infestation to determine the success of the treatment. Compliance requirements are monitored based on permitting requirements to ensure exceedances are mitigated, while treatment success is monitored through the implementation of adult mussel bioassays. Adult mussel bioassays involve placing caged adult mussels within the critical water systems and monitoring the impact of the treatment program through mussel mortality rates. A treatment is considered successful when complete mortality of the mussels in the bioassay is achieved.

When should a treatment program be implemented?

  • Treatment programs should be implemented when monitoring programs identify a critical infestation level has been exceeded, when maintenance activities reveal evidence of mussel infestation within critical water system equipment and when a monitoring and treatment programs have not been implemented in areas with known infestations.

We offer a complete package which includes:

Contact us to learn more about our services

+1 204-819-2121
For immediate assistance, please contact our Head Office at the number above.
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