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Baltimore's Inner Harbor Health: The good news and the bad news

Posted at 7:54 PM, Oct 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-06 19:54:37-04

BALTIMORE — City leaders gathered to hear the 2022 Harbor Heartbeat Report. The report had some good and some bad news.

The good news, the dissolve oxygen level is lower in the harbor now, there has not been a large fish kill in the harbor since 2014.

The bad news is the streams leading into the harbor continue to suffer.

The streams have high scores of dissolve oxygen, PH, and temperatures. Some of the best news is sewer overflow is down 64% from previous years.

"Meaning 250 million gallons less sewage ended up here in the Baltimore Harbor," said Adam Lindquist, Vice President of the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore.

Lindquist says sewer system upgrades are responsible for the good news.

One of the biggest problems are the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The Maryland Department of Environment found systemic problems in the plant leading to sewage being dumped into the harbor, the repairs to the plant have begun.

"In the past couple months, the water quality scores getting better around the wastewater treatment plant," Lindquist said,

The Waterfront Partnership wants to create a water trail connecting the Inner Harbor and Middle Branch for kayakers and paddle boarders. They want to improve and create more public access to the harbor.

"We can begin to transition our mind sets to think of the water as a recreational feature," said Chris Streb, an ecological engineer with Biohabitats.

One of the reasons the harbor is in better shape is because of Mr. Trash Wheel, his family is growing, there is a Mrs. Trash Wheel, and a couple of others.

"We have Professor Trash Wheel, Captain trash wheel and most recently, Gwenda the good wheel of the West, said Lindquist.

Gwenda is located at the mouth of the Gwynns Falls.

"Gwenda, the Good Wheel of the West, is our largest trash wheel to date," Lindquist said. "She's actually capable of picking up more trash than the other three trash wheels combined."

The report goes on to say that the Styrofoam ban by Baltimore city and the state has made a significant difference.