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YP’s Hold Event at Fairmount Water Works Mussel Hatchery Event

Fairmount Water Works Mussel Hatchery Event

April 12, 2018

Event summary by Kelly Good

On April 12, 2018, three regional professional organizations co-hosted a networking event presented by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) at the Fairmount Water Works Mussel Hatchery. Co-hosted by the Pennsylvania American Water Works Association Young Professionals (PA-AWWA YPs), American Society of Civil Engineers Philadelphia Section Younger Members Forum (ASCE Philadelphia YMF), and American Water Resources Association Philadelphia Metropolitan Area Section (AWRA-PMAS), the sold-out event was the first in the region to pull together students, professionals, and guests from these four organizations.


In addition to networking opportunities, the nearly 70 attendees received tour of the freshwater Mussel Hatchery at the Fairmount Water Works, courtesy of the passionate staff of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. The tour provided information about the Schuylkill Action Network and the importance of freshwater mussels to the Delaware Estuary, including the following highlights:


  • Virginia Vassalotti, Coordinator for the Schuylkill Action Network at PDE, highlighted the watershed clean-up efforts of the Schuylkill Scrub, which in 2017 pulled together 28,040 volunteers to help remove over 784,000 pounds of trash from the Schuylkill River Watershed! You can help this year by volunteering at a trash cleanup (see for more information).


  • Angela Padeletti, Science Programs Manager at PDE, explained that mussels naturally clean our water by filtering several gallons of water per day, and even live to be 100 years old. Interestingly, they need specific fish to complete their complex life cycle, so restoring creeks and rivers is a holistic endeavor.


  • Kurt Cheng, Shellfish Coordinator at PDE, shared that in addition to helping to clean our waterways, mussels and humans have had a close relationship for many years, from buttons in the clothing industry to the pearl industry. The ultimate goal of a commercial hatchery is to provide a source of mussels to enable large scale mussel restoration throughout the region for water quality benefits (see more facts and videos at and


Maria Tortorelli, an engineer at Mott MacDonald in Philadelphia, enjoyed this event in particular “because it was a stimulating exhibit with lots of visual and hands on activities that illustrated the importance of water quality, distribution, and protecting our environment.”


If you are interested in attending a future YP event, have an idea for a future event, or would like to assist in planning a future event please contact the committee chair, Benjamin Deatrich (





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