Decontamination Station

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Water Decontamination System – Project Updates

4/20/24 – Clean Boats Clean Waters Workshop Presentation

4/18/24 – Stump Grinding Quotes

4/17/24 – Long Lake Property Owners Association Zoom Meeting – Proposal Passed

4/17/24 – Visit Pressure Washer Supplier

4/16/24 – Submitted Application and Site Plan to NWE for Electric Service Quote

4/13/24 – Tree Removal and Site Preparation

4/10/24 – Site Visit with Licensed Well Driller

4/10/24 – Site Visit by Burnett County to Verify Stake Placement and Survey Markers

4/9/24 – Talked with Well Pump Installers, WDNR, and Burnett Dairy for propane setback

4/4/24 – Discussion with Webb Lake Fire Department about access to equipment

4/3/24 – Decided to explore sand point well instead of tanks

3/29/24 – Preliminary Site Selection and Stake Placement for Electric Service Quote

3/28/24 – Site Plan design in CAD

3/26/24 – Received Township and Mark Michel Approval to Pump Water from Lake

3/25/24 – Send Ownership Agreement over to Attorney

3/14/24 – Signed and Submitted WDNR Grant Agreement

3/11/24 – Established that we are allowed to use water from Des Moines Lake and can pump it ourselves

3/4/24 a unanimous vote of 17 members approved the motion to install a hot water decontamination station at the joint boat landing between Des Moines and Long Lake

Water Decontamination Station

Protecting our water is the number one priority of the Des Moines Lake Association. Given the proximity of nearby threats and the ineffectiveness of our current decontamination methods, the Des Moines Lake Association has opted to implement a Water Decontamination System (WDS) at our shared landing. The WDS will use hot water and high pressure to kill and remove Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) from watercraft and trailers.

AIS Threats

The greatest AIS threat to Des Moines Lake is zebra mussels. Nearby Big McKenzie and Middle McKenzie lakes have been infected with zebra mussels since 2016. One of the most damaging impacts of zebra mussels is that they filter out algae needed for food by native species. Beyond that, they can cause hurtful cuts and scrapes on humans and pets, they crowd out native mussel populations, and they promote dangerous bacterial growth through the removal of oxygen in the water.

This rapidly spreading AIS is nearly impossible to remove from our water after introduction. DNR Biologist Alex Selle has stated to our board that a hot water high pressure water system would be the most effective type of unit for the removal and decontamination of zebra mussel veligers.

Zebra Mussels on Boat Lift at Big McKenzie

AIS Prevention and Decontamination

Wisconsin DNR’s Best Management Practices for Boat, Gear and Equipment Decontamination manual indicates that our WDS would be the most effective and efficient at removing a wide range of AIS from boats and equipment.

DNR Decontamination and Disinfection Manual Code 9183.1 states the five methods for AIS removal are Steam, Hot water, Drying, Chlorine, Virkon. Steam is not a practical public use method. Drying is impractical as it requires five days between use. Chlorine and Virkon are not effective for a lot of AIS.

Our current method of decontamination is spraying diluted bleach solution on watercraft and equipment upon entering and existing our lake. There are numerous issues with this process:

  • Boaters must wait 10 minutes per WDNR protocol for it to be effective
  • The bleach solution degrades as quickly as 24 hours and becomes ineffective
  • The solution can stain clothes and shoes
  • The solution requires constant refilling by volunteers

While boaters at our landing were spraying their boats and equipment with the bleach solution, the majority of them were not waiting the required 10 minutes.

Upon introduction of a WDS at nearby Lipsett Lake, the volunteers report that lake users much prefer the pressure washer to the pump sprayers with bleach solution that were previously used. After an entire season with the new system, they reported that no person refused to decontaminate their boat or trailer.

System Research, Design, and Use

From our research and consultation with experts, we created our own equipment specification. Our top priority was to design a safe, versatile, and easy to operate system that would shield and contain AIS from entering or leaving either lake. Our system’s effectiveness and efficiency mirrors that of other high end systems across the nation, which is due to the ability to use high pressures, hot temperatures, and greater water volumes through reliable heavy duty rated industrial equipment. This design future-proofs our AIS shielding and containment efforts.

We have researched, discussed, analyzed, and understood the fundamentals of how hot water high pressure systems work. We have a fair grasp of their strengths and weaknesses, their installation limitations and requirements, and their operational effectiveness, safety, and reliability. We chose equipment specifications used by four major authorities that have experience with hot water high pressure for heavy duty decontamination purposes; the Minnesota DNR, U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation, Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. We identified that hot water of 140F needs to be used in this system. The system should be capable of higher pressures of 3000 PSI or more and also have volume capabilities of 4.0 GPM or higher.

With this WDS blueprint, we have identified the specific equipment options and components needed for our system and the requisites of its install site. We have also started a pressure washer equipment analysis spreadsheet available below.

Further research and expert consultation is needed before we purchase equipment. Our number one priority is safety and this will be considered at every stage of this process. Given the versatile design of the system, it will be used by multiple types of users, from fully trained to the general public. Safety precautions and fail safe design are paramount for successful operation. Some of the controls and protection mechanisms needed will have to be custom made and will require expert guidance. The system will be similar to a self-service car wash in terms of usability. The equipment we are considering is rated for heavy duty use and has upwards of 5 to 7 year warranties on its boilers and pump parts.

In discussions with the private land owner Mark Michel on water source options, we have opted for above grade water tanks that will be fillable by the Webb Lake fire department. While this solution is cost effective (compared to well drilling) and will re-use readily available IBC totes for water storage, it is unique and custom.

The unit will use propane as its source to heat the water. Northwestern Electric will install single phase electrical service to the site.

The WDS will be contained inside a locked shed. The shed will be on top of a concrete slab and protected by concrete bollards. The exact location and specific site plan will be chosen and designed in Spring of 2024. The unit has electric pump motors as opposed to gasoline and the decibel output of these machines is similar to that of a washing machine.

Before usage of the machine, the co-owners will purchase a one million dollar insurance policy. To get the equipment in working order, we will have to test the equipment and fine tune its settings for the various users. Protocols will be established so these settings can be tuned easily, reliably, and safely by a trained staff person. Procedures and protocols will be created on how to use the machine. Proper nozzles will be installed to regulate maximum pressures on the various pressure wands or undercarriage sprayers. Temperature of the water and surfaces will be checked with infrared thermometers and protocols will be made to allow a trained user to easily and reliably set the temperatures for various users. PPE will be purchased and available for all users. In-person training of six paid and six volunteer staff on usage of the WDS. We will provide safety and usage tutorials for association members and other non trained personnel through online education and videos.

When staff is present at the WDS, they will enter the locked structure and turn the machine setting to the “Trained Setting”. This will adjust the temperature to 140 F. Inside the locked shed is where the high output WDS spray gun is stored. This gun features a smaller nozzle that is setup for higher pressures. The trained staff will be the only ones able to use this spray gun. Once their shift is finished and there is no more trained staff for the rest of the day, the WDS is returned to the “Public Setting” of 120 F and the high output WDS gun is stored safely inside the locked structure.  

When staff is not present at the landing, the WDS will already be set for lower “Public Setting” temperature of 120 F. The public user will have access to the low output WDS spray gun which is stored on a hose reel that is attached to the exterior of the structure. The nozzle size of this gun is larger in diameter and will significantly reduce its water pressure. This lower pressure will be similar to that of a self-service car wash and is considered safe for public use.

Additional undercarriage sprayers and non-pressurized hose options will be available for the public to use.

Co-Ownership with Long Lake

Des Moines Lake board members met with the Long Lake Property Owners Association (LLPOA) in late summer of 2023 to discuss the WDS. Given our landing serves both lakes, the LLPOA board intends to become co-owners of the equipment with our association. We are currently in the process of finalizing a co-ownership agreement between both parties. Once that is complete, it will be made available.


The total cost of the project is estimated to be $25,439. The Wisconsin DNR has awarded the project $14,564 in grant funds. With a 10% budget contingency added to the estimated cost, each association’s liability is around $6700. A budget spreadsheet is available below in the Project Documents.


  • Special Meeting with Membership – March 4th, 2024
  • Design and Develop – April through June 2024
  • Purchase Equipment – May 2024 through May 2025
  • Site Preparation and Shed Install – May 2024 through August 2024
  • Electrical Service Hookup – August 2024 through September 2024
  • Purchase Insurance Policy – September 2024 – May 2025
  • Install WDS – September 2024 through May 2025
  • Add Custom Safety and Usability Controls – September 2024 through May 2025
  • Testing and Configuration – May 2025
  • Procedure and Protocol Creation – May 2025
  • Staff Training May 2025 – June 2025
  • Public education video tutorials June 2025 – August 2025
  • Maintenance Schedule, Season Start-up and Shutdown Procedure – September 2025

Project Documents

Documents related to this project can be found below.

Grant Application
Grant Approval Letter
Association Documents
Research Documents

Volunteer Form

Looking to help with installing and building out our water decontamination system? Use the form below to submit your contact information.