An alert weigh station inspector in Minnesota caught a Solar Bee Truck transporting one of these aeration systems with over 10,000 zebra mussels attached. The Minnesota DNR were called and confirmed the infestation. The vehicle and Solar Bee were impounded and the company required to clean the unit completely. State officials were very concerned because as this truck bounces down the highway with this huge number of mussels clinging on, each bump in the road can knock them off and they could end up in the stormwater system being transported to un-infested waters. The first article here is from the Minneapolis 5 Eyewitness News Department. It provides a good overview of this situation and also has a video clip that shows the level of infestation and the efforts necessary to clean it.
In this article the owner of Solar Bee indicates that they would not knowingly transport these mussels. In this second article however, you will note that the reason this system was being transported back to North Dakota was to “decontaminate it”.
One has to wonder how many more of these have come back for “decontamination” and have not been caught. In the most recent article about this, state officials wonder where they planned to decontaminate this unit and where all these mussels were going to go speculating the storm drain system was a real possibility. They also wondered how many others have come back to North Dakota (currently zebra mussel free) for decontamination. As many of these Solar Bee systems are leased and returned to the company, one also has to wonder where else they may have been shipped on return to the company. Managers of western waters where these mussels have not yet arrived should be especially careful about this.