Mid-Atlantic Beaches, Oceans & Estuaries Quick Finder
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- EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional office oversees beach conditions along the Atlantic Ocean off of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. The Great Lakes National Program Office of EPA oversees water quality in the Great Lakes, although the Mid-Atlantic Regional office oversees beach conditions along Lake Erie in Pennsylvania.
- State and local governments are generally responsible for testing beach water and telling the public when conditions are unsafe for swimming. In the past, local programs varied widely. The BEACH Act, enacted in 2000, is helping to standardize programs in line with the National Beach Guidance and Performance Criteria for Recreational Waters. For the last several years, grants have been given to eligible states to help them improve their programs. Because the Beach Act includes the Great Lakes in its definition of "recreational" beaches, Pennsylvania receives funding, in addition to Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, in the Mid-Atlantic region.
National Beach AdvisoriesBEACON is EPA's BEach Advisory and Closing Online Notification system. BEACON is EPA's application to make state beach advisory and closing data available to the public and has the latest information States have sent to BEACON for posting. About BEACON
- No Discharge Zones - an area of a waterbody or an entire waterbody into which the discharge of sewage (whether treated or untreated) from all vessels is completely prohibited
- Estuaries - a partially enclosed coastal body of water where where fresh water from rivers meet and mix with saltwater from the ocean
- Chesapeake Bay - the largest estuary in the U.S., about 200 miles long, stretching from Havre de Grace, Maryland to Norfolk, Virginia