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Is Baltimore's Inner Harbor swimmable? The Waterfront Partnership says yes.

Would you swim in the Inner Harbor? An event will make it happen
Would you swim in the Inner Harbor? An event will make it happen 02:48

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore is getting ready to plunge into the Inner Harbor. 

The Waterfront Partnership is inviting Baltimore to jump into the Inner Harbor for its 2024 Harbor Splash event.

The announcement comes after over a decade of cleanup efforts as part of its Healthy Harbor Initiative, which involves collaboration from non-profits, educational institutions, government officials, business leaders, and volunteers.

The Harbor Splash will be on June 23 and 150 people are expected to participate.

That initiative was launched in 2023, with the goal of making Baltimore's Inner Harbor safe for swimming and fishing.

The Harbor Splash will be the first public swimming event in the Inner Harbor in more than 40 years. 

"You think people are going to jump in this water?" Baltimore resident Nashawn Downes.

For more than a decade, Waterfront Partnership has been working to make the Baltimore Inner Harbor more swimmable and fishable.

Last year, a few water advocates and researchers jumped into the Harbor to tease this year's event. 

Each year, the Waterfront Partnership tracks water quality data, detailing it in an annual Healthy Harbor Report Card.  According to the 2023 report, the harbor meets the Maryland standard for swimming on most dry weather days.  

"They have done a good job of cleaning it so far, but I don't think it's clean enough," Downes said.

The report also cites data from the Maryland Department of the Environment, which shows that sewage overflows are down 97% since 2018. 

Still, the Waterfront Partnership says those looking to take a swim should do so during scheduled events with designated swimming locations.

Waterfront Partnership's Adam Lindquist said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott will be among many swimming in the Harbor during Harbor Splash.

"He understands the science. He understands what Baltimore has accomplished in repairing its sewage infrastructure which has been really important to restoring recreational use to the Baltimore Harbor," Lindquist said.

However, not everybody is ready to take the plunge. 

"To each his own," Baltimore resident Willie Reed said. "I'd rather go to my pool in my development."

"If I see a bunch of people swimming and nothing happens, in maybe a few years I will think about it," Baltimore resident Mike Voscian said. "It will take a lot of convincing for sure."

Registration is open for 2024's Harbor Splash event, and according to the Waterfront Partnership, Mayor Scott is already signed up. 

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