Beachmaker crushes zebra mussel leftovers


A new weapon has emerged in the war against invasive zebra mussels. Put it on the shelf next to the BioBullets, Zequanox, the mussel-killing cocktail and the Mobile Decontamination Machine.

Introducing, the Beachmaker.

The Beachmaker turns shells of dead zebra mussels into dust. Photo: USDAgov (Flickr)

The Beachmaker sucks up zebra mussel shells and crushes them until they look like sand particles. It was invented by a Wisconsin man who wanted his kids to be able to play on the beach without wearing shoes.

According to an article in the Green Bay Press Gazette, the Beachmaker can crush a dump truck load of zebra mussels per hour until they take up only a third of their original space, leaving more beachfront for sandcastles.

It doesn’t seem to address the problem of living zebra mussels taking over new territory, but the Beachmaker certainly can help clean up the leftovers!

7 thoughts on “Beachmaker crushes zebra mussel leftovers

  1. We have been looking for years for a way to get rid of these
    neaty shells. Our town even has a place to dump the bags of shells
    that a homeowner collects. However, the problem is so bad in
    Northport, Michigan it would take a dump truck to haul them
    away. I hope you can being this invention to Michigan and
    most certainly to Northport. I have two customers already.

  2. Hey guys. Thanks for the encouraging response. I work with the company and deal with environmental issues as well as regulatory compliance. The study that the Green Bay Press Gazette article refers to is a joint initiative with the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. UWO is working under a Great Lakes Restoration grant to study water quality and bacteria sources on beaches. We approached UWO’s program with questions about bacteria in the existing piles, and whether crushing the shells and exposing them to sunlight (UV radiation) might retard bacteria growth. We found out that there’s no baseline research on what bacteria is growing in shell piles, and certainly none on the effect of crushing and passive irradiation. Our goal over the summer is to take pre-crushing samples; immediate samples tested for FIB”s, immediate water quality samples tested for FIB’s, then retest at various times over the next few weeks. The hypothesis is that we may be eliminating a point source for bacteria that’s been largely overlooked in past research.

    Stephanie’s question about toxins is a good one. There’s published research that shows that shells do not accumulate pcbs, heavy metals, or other contiminents, nor do they produce toxins in crushing beyond possible concentration of existing bacteria. In any event, the piles of shells contain moisture, and once beyond the first few inches, there’s a wetting effect which keeps dust to a minumum.

    I’d be happy to answer any questions regarding regulatory issues, or refer to you the Technical advisor to the Michigan Lake and Stream Association from MSU’s department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Jennifer L. Jermalowicz-Jones.

    Thanks, and let me know if you have more questions.

    Best Regards

    Gregory Books, PhD.
    Beachmakers LLC
    Pulaski WI

  3. Pingback: Crushed-Up Mussels, Great Lakes Cruises & a Clean Energy March « Mr Great Lakes

  4. @ Stephanie A: Great Question – The article they reference (Green Bay Press Gazette) says the following:

    More on page 2 of that article!

  5. Sounds cool. Do you know if they’ve done any research on what crushing them might do to the surrounding environment? Particularly, will the crushing part add contaminants stored up in the mussels to the environment without a chance for them to breakdown? Would it make a difference anyhow? What about toxins? Would we be breathing them? Don’t get me wrong – sounds like an inventive way to use of mussel shells, just curious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *