Clams protect Polands… water?!

a person holding a clam in their hand
Reading Time: 4 minutes

How clams used in the water treatment center monitor the water of Poland

Poland gets a lot of their water from the surface of the Vistula River, and water quality is important to the country. The water treatment center in the city has been using clams for a while to ensure that the residents ( the human ones ) are kept safe from any issues with the water. It does make sense if you think about it and we will break down how it works, because honestly it sounds crazy but is probably one of the most logical things we’ve never thought about.

We know that this is a bit off the normal path of our usual write ups on our tech blog but we just like to find cool tech things… even if it uses “old school” processes. And to be clear old school is just referring to how old clams are haha .

How do the clam water monitors work?

So you might be wondering what do the clams do? When the water gets bad to they just start yelling? No no no no, but we will admit these were our first questions and thoughts. So let’s get down to how it works and then why it is an awesome idea.

So the way that it works is they put 8 clams in a constant stream of water that comes into the treatment center. At that point they determine what the clans shell position is when it is open and what it is when it is closed. This is the baseline that they use for monitoring the clam response to the water.

When those clams get exposed to something that they don’t like they close, and that is because they are super sensitive to toxins in the water. And thankfully, the things that clams find dangerous are also dangerous to humans. If 6 of the clams close for 4 minutes or more then there is an alert sent out. The reason that this works like crazy is because they will actually respond when levels are far below what could hurt humans, so it gives an early warning.

Why this is great?

Well the reason why this is so awesome is because it gives them a natural way to monitor the water. I am not saying that terminators are going to come and wipe out all machines, but it is easy to forget how much we rely on electricity and computers for pretty much every aspect of our lives. People freak out when the internet is down for a couple of hours, let alone if something happens to our water supplies.

It turns out there is an actual term for this type of system and that is biomonitoring, which makes sense and here is the amazing video explanation we found that made us write this article:

Other cool facts about clams monitoring water

From the video we found out that Warsaw isn’t the only place to use this type of system, as there are other companies in Poland that use one. The thing that really surprised us is that there is actually a system like this in Minnesota.

This is a simple and effective way to help keep Poland’s water clean and safe for everyone to use and to be clear they also have the traditional ( computer ) based system much like the rest of the world uses. But to be honest you really can’t be too safe when it comes to making sure your water is clean, so we don’t get why more places don’t use a system like this.

If you want to find out more about the entire process check out the full write up here.

And as a final happy note, if you were wondering if the clams end up in a pasta dish after their tour of duty is over we have happy news. Each clam only has to do 3 months total, then they are returned to where they came from and marked. This ensures they don’t get selected to protect the city any more and can enjoy their retirement in peace and quiet.