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Vt. zebra mussels cause Minnesota stir

ST. PAUL, MINN.Minnesota doesnt want to import Vermonts zebra mussel problem to its 10,000 freshwater lakes. Officials of the big midwestern states natural resources agency stopped a truck near the state line last week that was transporting water pumps encrusted with invasive zebra mussels. The pumps, covered with thousands of the tiny freshwater shellfish, came from the Lake Champlain region of Vermont. The seized truck was transporting the pumps from Vermont, through Minnesota, to North Dakota. The rig was pulled into a weigh station on Interstate 94 in Minnesota, just across the stateline from Hudson, Wis. Officials estimated there were up to 10,000 mussels covering the pumps. According to wire news reports, the equipment was eventually cleaned with a high-pressure water hose by Minnesota officials and returned to the trucker. The mussels were destroyed in the process. Officials of the company transporting the pumps, SolarBee Inc., said the controversial cargo was being delivered to its remanufacturing plant in Dickinson, N.D. SolarBee officials said the pumps were removed from Vermont for two weeks before being trucked to North Dakota. The company said 14 days for the pumps in transit was long enough to kill any mussels exposed to air. Ironically, the SolarBee utilizes laminar-flow technology to provide high-flow long-distance water circulation that can improve the quality of freshwater lakes, reservoirs, potable tanks, reservoirs, wastewater ponds and lagoons. Minnesota DNR conservation official John Hunt told the Associated Press that zebra mussels survive out of the water for several weeks.

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