BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Coming up for air. A plan to pump oxygen into a small portion of the Inner Harbor holds the promise of improving water quality.

Pat Warren reports the experiment is part of the quest for healthier waterways.

Starving for air. Fish in the Inner Harbor floated belly up for lack of oxygen in May 2009. People in downtown Baltimore don’t need to see a fish kill to know something’s wrong.

“It smelt like fish food or an aquarium center or something like that,” said one downtown patron.

“I live about three blocks from the park, so you could smell it up there, and when you opened the windows, you want to close the windows,” said a downtown resident.

Now it’s fresher with wildlife and people enjoying the water and each other.

But summer temperatures can have disastrous effects. That’s why environmentalists and engineers have teamed up to study ways to get more oxygen into these troubled waters.

“We’re going to be blowing bubbles in the water,” said Tom Sprehe, of KCI Technologies. “Little tiny bubbles, and then in addition, just the mixing of the lower water to the surface will improve oxygen.”

It’s a small, experimental effort, but fans of the waterfront think it’s worth it.

“I do,” said Carrie Padgett. “Have you seen this water? Do you see how dirty this water is, so they do need it.”

“Can’t hurt to try, huh?” said another resident.

Better than can’t hurt – it could help provide a cure.

“The patient is lying on the floor gasping for oxygen, give ’em oxygen and that’s kinda the idea here,” Sprehe said.

This is the question-answering phase of the project that could lead to a better understanding of what’s needed, as well as what’s a waste of time.

Blue Water Baltimore is a partner in the project. It’s the leading environmental voice for regional waterways.

Comments (6)
  1. williejoe says:

    Someone needs to get a reality check or at least their facts straight @ WJZ. This week they reported that the Patapsco River was polluted due to Sparrows point cleanup of heavy metals. Last time I looked, that river is directly linked with the inner harbor. The Inner Harbor like the Patapsco will remain a danger for years & until a massive effort is put behind it, it will not take place in my lifetime. Fifty years from now a developer will build a full scale waterfront complex with marinas, condos, restaurants etc & all the people will be coming down with mysterious cancer & Leukemia’s….And so it goes on & on. The almighty dollar rules.

    1. נדב עמי says:

      Dude, the dollar is dying.. soon its going to be replaced as the world’s currency. There is no future for the dollar according to the IMF and WTO.

      1. williejoe says:

        We like the dollar are also dying from the day we are born. You are reading too many George Orwell stories & playing too many video game pimples. P.S. I’m not your Dude.

  2. Bryan says:

    Hi, I was watching this story of the scientists trying to clean the water quality in the inner harbor, with the machine they built. I have a suggestion to help clean the water; they could use the system that is used in a fishtank. You could use the oxgen tubes like in a fishtank to push oxygenated water to the top. It could be attached to the walls around the harbor so boats wouldn’t have to worry about hitting it.

  3. נדב עמי says:

    I sure hope this is a reality. One day I just want to jump in the harbor for a swim on a HOT summer day! Or even jump off a dock into the water.. Please Baltimore, WAKE UP!! Lets save our Harbor for everyone, and make it swimmable.

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