by Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Fairmount Water Works is hatching a plan to help clean the water we drink every day, with a Mussels Hatchery.READ MORE: New Jersey Requiring All Employees In 'Certain' Healthcare Facilities Get COVID-19 Vaccine Or Regular Testing By Early September
The exhibit along the Schuylkill River Trail, near the Art Museum, opens Friday.
The new installation is part living science laboratory, and part interactive exhibit featuring mussels, but not the kind you eat with a plate of linguine.
“Freshwater mussels, I mean, they’re not a sexy species.,” said Lance Butler, a senior scientist with the Philadelphia Water Department, Office of Watersheds.READ MORE: Philadelphia Announces Phase 2 Of Street Cleaning Program Running Through November
Each of these palm-sized creatures is like a “mini water-treatment facility,” according to Butler.
“They perform a lot of eco-system services for us. They filter water at a very alarming rate – up to 20 gallons a day per mussel,” he explained.
They suck in water, trap pollutants, and release clean, filtered water and nutrients.
“Some of these live 60, 80, some even 100 years old. They are our canary in the coal mine, for the water,” said Butler.MORE NEWS: Large Flames Shoot Through Roof Of Princeton University's Theological Seminary Library
Butler says the project is designed educate folks about these ecosystem engineers, breed mussel babies, and eventually reintroduce them in the Schuylkill.