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January 22, 2014

Crew uses an unusual tool to clean polluted Oregon creek: mushrooms

  • Mushroom spawn, coffee grounds and straw in burlap bags are filtering water before it enters storm drains.
  • By ANTHONY RIMEL
    Corvallis Gazette-Times

    CORVALLIS, Ore. — An environmental group is attempting to clean the waters in Corvallis' Sequoia Creek — and potentially the Willamette River beyond it — using an unusual tool: mushrooms.

    The process used by volunteers with the Ocean Blue Project, an ecological restoration nonprofit, is to place mushroom spawn and a mixture of coffee grounds and straw in burlap bags that mushrooms can grow in, and then place the bags so that water entering storm drains will filter through them. The technique is attempting to take advantage of the natural ability of mycelium — the underground part of fungi — to break down toxins like oil and pesticides and metabolize harmful bacteria like E. coli.


     
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