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Whitman Announces First of $10 Million in Beach Grants for 2003 - Steady Increase in Beach Monitoring Better Protects and Informs American Vacationers, EPA Reports
Release Date: 06/13/2003
Contact: John Millett, 202-564-7842 / firstname.lastname@example.org
(06/13/03) As part of a national effort to ensure the safe enjoyment of America’s beaches, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman today announced the first beach grant from a total of nearly $10 million available this year for states to monitor beach water quality, issue timely warnings or closures, and protect public health. Whitman also released the results of EPA’s annual Beach Survey, which shows further increases in beach monitoring nationwide.
“We Americans love our beaches – they are, after all, our number one tourist destination. From New England to Hawaii, visitors and residents alike expect to find America’s beaches clean and healthy,” Whitman said. “One of the most effective tools we have to ensure continuous improvement in water quality is monitoring water quality on an ongoing basis. That is why EPA is making funds available across the nation to help state and local governments keep closer track of ocean water quality at beaches. These funds will help ensure that a day at a beach is a day to remember for all the right reasons.”
Whitman announced today in Quincy, Mass. that $257,000 is expected to be awarded to Massachusetts, and she will announce a grant for Florida next week. A total of about $10 million is available in 2003 to help 35 states and territories improve their water testing and public notification. Nationwide, beach grants to states vary from $149,025 to $544,552. The grants are based on criteria including the length of beach season, the miles of beaches and the number of people using those beaches.
The number of beaches participating in the annual survey has grown from 1,021 in 1997 to 2,823 in 2003. About 25 percent of the beaches surveyed had at least one advisory or closing during the 2002 swimming season. Most advisories are issued to warn of elevated bacteria levels. Frequently identified reasons for elevated bacteria levels are storm water runoff, sewer overflows and failing or inadequately maintained septic tanks.
State and local monitoring and notification programs often differ across the country and provide varying levels of swimmer protection. EPA’s Beach Grants are intended to ensure that the public receives better protection when traveling to various beaches across the country. The program is authorized by the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH Act) of 2002. EPA estimates that Americans make a total of 910 million trips to coastal areas each year, spending about $44 billion.
For further information, visit https://www.epa.gov/waterscience/beaches
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