Wednesday, July 21, 2021


Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Biodiversity, Earth & Space Sciences, Wildlife, Nature, Biodiversity, Water, Watersheds

Ed Hessler

Reporter Mary McQuire  had a story May 14, 2019  the mussels that provide some important muscle to water quality monitoring at Minneapolis Water Treatment & Distribution. In the event you missed it it is worth a look. Their work schedule is relentless with no time off. At the time their employment record showed that they have been doing this for more than 10 years.

Ms. McQuire wrote that they are "snuggled up side by side, a dozen mollusks live in a tank with water continuously being cycled in from the Mississippi River. If the mollusks come across anything funky like gasoline or heavy metals, they’ll all clam up, setting off tiny sensors attached to their shells.

“'Those wires are connected to a computer that we have and it will actually show a flat line telling us that they have closed,'” said (George) Kraynick of the Minneapolis Water Works.

"Minneapolis is the only city in the country that uses mussels in what’s technically called a bio-monitoring system. With how far science has come, this is a slightly primitive way to be looking at water quality, but it really works." (emphasis added).

And as far as retirement it depends on outgrowing their quarters. Mr. Kraynick told McGuire, " “Most likely, we will just set them free in the river. They’ve served their time,” said Kraynick. “They’re still young, they have a long life to lead.” (They live up to 50 years.)

See McGuire's reporting here which includes a photograph of the mussels at work.

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