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Harbor health improves, but still earns failing grade
John Kellett, inventor of the Inner Harbor Water Wheel, ties some of the floating wetlands to pylons around the World Trade Center Baltimore. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Harbor health improves, but still earns failing grade

Baltimore’s streams, river and harbor are still in failing health, but they’re failing less severely than they were last year.

The Healthy Harbor Report Card, released Wednesday, said that these bodies of water scored between 51 and 57 percent in 2013 by measures of health, compared to numbers in the low 40s for 2012.

Healthy Harbor is an initiative of the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore Inc.

The waters were tested for factors like fecal bacteria, dissolved oxygen, total nitrogen and total phosphorus, based on water samples. The grades were worst in the harbor itself, but only improved into the “D” range for some sampled areas outside of the harbor.

In most sample locations in the harbor and streams, at least 60 percent of water samples had bacteria levels unsafe for swimming.

Healthy Harbor’s goal, however, is to make the Inner Harbor safe for swimming by 2020. Last week, project manager Adam Lindquist said he was growing optimistic about that goal, thanks to recent developments such as the installation of a trash-collecting water wheel.

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