When Natures Water Filter Helps Out with Human Water Filters
BY NATHAN ECKERT, GENOA NFH
The native mussel program at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery (NFH) often supplies mussels of various life stages for a variety of research projects. These are often one-way visits as the animals are tested at the upper limits of their tolerances for various substances. This time, however, some of our mussels found a new home to help monitor the quality of the water supply for the Quad Cities in Illinois and Iowa.
We sent 40 fatmucket mussels for a bio-monitoring effort to provide advanced warning of river contamination to local Public Water Supplies in the Quad Cities. The mussels are located at the Riverside Bio-monitoring Early Warning Station located on the Mississippi River in Bettendorf, Iowa. This station is a joint effort between state and federal agencies, water utilities, universities, engineering firms, and led by the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association. The station is used to provide advanced warning of river water quality changes, including local contamination or spill events.
This is accomplished by a multi-tool approach for measuring water quality. The use of YSI sonde probes and a UV-VIS Multi lyser scan the river for water quality parameters such as Turbidity, pH, Nitrate and Total Organic Carbon. The use of fatmucket mussels is beneficial because they are sensitive to very minute changes in water quality, which provides us with enhanced monitoring of river water conditions.
The mussels are housed in a water tank along with the testing probes. The mussels are wired to a computer that measures their activity. Computer algorithm software then analyzes their activity. If warranted then an e-mail notification goes out to interested parties whom can follow up and investigate if river quality is affected. The Moline Water Division is excited to have the mussels helping to provide public health protection. You can read more and view shared data at: http://v4.wqdata.com/webdblink/umr_network.php