PHILADELPHIA — In a first for the nation, Philadelphia officials have launched the first city-owned mussel hatchery as part of an effort to improve water quality in the Delaware River Basin.

WHYY's PlanPhilly reports the city and five organizations committed Tuesday to create the hatchery and raise millions of baby mussels to release into the water.

The hatchery has received $7.9 million in funding from the state and will be located at a botanical garden. Construction is expected to begin next year.

Danielle Kreeger, lead scientist with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, says each mussel will be able to filter 10 to 20 gallons of water a day.

She says the mussel restoration project could lead to swimmable or fishable conditions in the river basin.