PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A really cool science project is underway at the Philadelphia Waterworks. It will improve the health of our local waterways.
The project involves one of nature's hardest working sea creatures, the mussel.
This is the future Freshwater Mussel Hatchery at the Fairmount Waterworks in Philadelphia. It is a project that will eventually lead to cleaner and healthier water.
The idea is to let these guys do most of the hard work.
"Freshwater mussels are an important biological component of our rivers and marine systems," said Lance Butler of the Philadelphia Water Department. "They filter an enormous amount of water so the more, the better the water quality and in doing so, the less treatment for our treatment processes."
You probably didn't know it, but the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers are hotbeds for mussels. More mussels means an even bigger benefit to the environment. That's why scientists are building the laboratory.
The long-term goal is to create a commercial hatchery that would provide enough mussels to actually repopulate our local rivers and streams and really make an impact.
"We're helping them get to the places they need to get to, to actually get their work to clean our rivers and streams before it gets to the ocean," said Victoria Prizzia of Habitat Ink.
The living laboratory will become an exhibit of sorts. The public can get a bird's eye view of the hatchery in action. "They'll also be able to take a deeper dive through our interactive components, through our playful installations to really understand the life and times of a mussle."
One mussel can clean 20 gallons of water per day. The Living Science Laboratory is expected to be finished by next fall.
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