Drink Up NYC: Meet The Tiny Crustaceans (Not Kosher) In Your Tap Water

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New York City is known for having excellent tap water, but why does it taste so good? It might be the microscopic shrimp.

Tiny copepods were discovered after a reddit user uploaded photos of what they found through the other end of a microscope after adding H&E stain to New York tap water. According to blog Gizmodo, copepods are added to water to eat mosquito larvae, keeping water sources clear.

But besides a serious “ick” factor, the copepods are technically crustaceans, which means they aren’t kosher for the city’s large Orthodox, observant Jewish population. Reports of requests by the Jewish community to have the water “purified” surfaced in 2004, but according to the Department of Environmental Protection, extracting the creatures wasn’t possible, claiming that they deliver health benefits to water reservoirs. “When it comes to delivery, if there is a spike and you are not comfortable with what you see in your water, all we can recommend is a commercial filter, which will effectively filter them out,” DEP spokesman Charles Sturcken told Water & Waste Digest.

More on Time.com: Photo Essay: Bug Cuisine

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