EPA Announces $285,000 Grant for Beach Water Quality Monitoring in South Carolina
Nationally, $9.6 million in grant funding will help communities monitor beach water quality
COLUMBIA, S.C. (May 13, 2021) – This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $285,000 in grant funding to carry out beach water quality monitoring and public notification programs in South Carolina. The funding provides over $1.8 million to the six southeastern coastal states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina and will assist EPA’s partners with local monitoring of bacteria levels, which can become too high for safe swimming, and efforts to notify the public of potential health risks.
“Strong partnerships are essential to protecting public health and the environment,” said EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “With this funding, EPA’s partners can improve water quality monitoring efforts to better protect health and wellness.”
“Clean and healthy beaches are important to the prosperity of numerous communities and are critical to boosting environmental and economic benefits,” said EPA Acting Region 4 Administrator John Blevins. “EPA beach grants enable our partners in Georgia to conduct testing and address potential sources of contamination to ensure that waters are clean and healthy for beachgoers this summer.”
Authorized by the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act, EPA anticipates awarding BEACH Act grants to eligible state, territorial, and tribal applicants contingent upon legal and administrative requirements. These funds will be used to monitor beaches for fecal indicator bacteria, maintain and operate public notification systems, identify local pollution sources, and report results of monitoring and notification activities to EPA and the public. When elevated levels of bacteria are detected, this funding supports beach warning or beach closing notifications to protect public health.
Since 2002, EPA has awarded more than $195 million in BEACH Act grants to 39 eligible partners, allowing a greater number of beaches to be monitored and the resulting data to be disseminated to ensure that potential beachgoers can make informed decisions about swimming. The grants are also part of a broader EPA effort to address sources of water pollution that contribute to beach closures. For example, last month the agency released an improved web-based app to help communities identify such pollution sources to local recreational water bodies.
For specific information on grants under the BEACH Act as well as national grant guidance, see: https://www.epa.gov/beach-tech/beach-grants.
To check on the latest closings and advisories at particular beaches, contact the relevant state, tribal, or territorial beach program listed at: https://www.epa.gov/beaches/state-territorial-tribal-and-epa-beach-program-contacts.
To view data on water quality monitoring results and public notifications that have been reported to EPA over the years, see EPA’s national beach database, BEACON, at: https://watersgeo.epa.gov/beacon2/.
To access the EPA Sanitary Survey App for Marine and Fresh Waters, see: https://www.epa.gov/beach-tech/sanitary-surveys-recreational-waters#epa.