The company that manufactures these units was caught by an alert Minnesota weight station employee as they attempted to transport thousand of zebra mussels attached to this unit across the state. This is illegal in many states. From the Television Report on Channel 5 Minneapolis: A Minnesota weigh station inspector made a big save for the environment Saturday.
The inspector on duty at a St. Croix weigh station caught a truck that was weighted down with thousands of zebra mussels.
“I’ve never heard of a call like this, it was a pretty alert employee at the scale,” said Lt. John Hunt, of the Minnesota DNR Enforcement Division.
Ten thousand zebra mussels covered a pump being hauled from Vermont to North Dakota. The inspector called police and the state impounded the truck and ordered it to be washed.
“Never seen anything like this before,” said truck cleaner Jesse Opine.
It is illegal in Minnesota to transport zebra mussels. The state wants to stop the spread because the invasive species pushes out the native ones.
“They are more powerful, breed quicker and they just take over,” said Lt. Hunt.
The pump that was infested with the mussels was used to suck algae from lakes and reservoirs.
The owner of Solar Bee told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, “We are an environmental company and never wanted to transport an invasive species.”
The North Dakota company apologized to the state and is making procedural changes due to this incident.
North Dakota company fined for illegally transporting zebra mussels (August 5, 2008)
A North Dakota company that had its zebra-mussel-infested trailer impounded in Minnesota last fall has been fined by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.
SolarBee Inc., a Dickinson, North Dakota-based firm, agreed July 21 to pay a $300 fine and $1,000 for a supplemental environmental project to Vermont for illegally transporting zebra mussels in that state. The company was fined $250 last October for illegally transporting the invasive species in Minnesota.
To view the companies response select
The response provided from SolarBee, Inc.
“Zebra mussel transport. As the creator, manufacturer, and distributor of the greenest lake management technology available, we at SolarBee Inc. are very proud of our support for environmental stewardship. Up until November 2007, we had adopted and then exceeded Oklahoma’s 10-page protocol for the prevention of spreading zebra mussels, the most stringent protocol in the nation we could find and one used by other states as well. This protocol said 5-7 days of desiccation is sufficient, but we used a 14-day desiccation period for added safety.
Around the beginning of November 2007, one of our service crews was at St. Albans Bay, Vermont, to pick up and return to the SolarBee factory in Dickinson, ND, the 3 SolarBee units used in the St. Albans Bay test (see above). These units had sat out of the water for two weeks as per protocol. We also consulted with the Vermont DEQ who said that 5 days desiccation was sufficient as the units were being returned to the factory for cleaning and acid washing before any redeployment. On the way to the factory, we discovered through a routine border inspection that the state of Minnesota had recently revised their guidelines to prohibit transport of any zebra mussels – either dead or alive. As a result of transporting dead zebra mussels into Minnesota, appropriate fines were assessed.
We make no excuses for not being aware at the time of the changes in the Minnesota guidelines. We fully support all states’ efforts to prevent invasive species infestations, gladly paid the several hundred dollar fines, and contributed an additional $1,000 to support Minnesota’s program. We have also revised our protocols for treating zebra mussels, as well as other invasive species, to conform to the Minnesota requirements.”