Some major U.S. cities are adding a new type of watchdog to
their drinking water systems. Rebecca Williams reports that watchdog
is a fish:
Some major U.S. cities are adding a new type of watchdog to their drinking
water systems. Rebecca Williams reports that watchdog is a fish:
New York City and San Francisco are two of the cities making room for fish
tanks in their water treatment plants. They’re using a common fish called
bluegill to test for toxins in the water supply.
Tony Winnicker is with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. He
says the system sends pre-treated water through the tank where the bluegill are swimming
“If something unusual enters their gill system, particularly bluegill, which
are highly sensitive, they cough, their body reacts to it and the sensors
pick that up.”
The sensors hooked up to the tank trigger emails to water plant workers to
let them know the fish are acting funny. The system also automatically takes water
samples at the moment the fish react.
Winnicker says the system detects anything from a change in clarity to
toxins that could be very harmful to people.
For the Environment Report, I’m Rebecca Williams.