EPA awards $723,000 in grants for beach water quality monitoring in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $723,000 in grant funding will be awarded to carry out beach water quality monitoring and public notification programs in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington and by the Makah and Swinomish Tribes. This funding 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.”
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.
In EPA’s four state Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington), EPA anticipates awarding the following grants to: Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, $150,000; Makah Tribe of the Makah Indian Reservation, $50,000; Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, $221,000; Swinomish Indian Tribal Community $50,000; and Washington Department of Ecology, $252,000.
Since 2002, EPA has awarded more than $195 million in BEACH Act grants, allowing a greater number of beaches to be monitored and data to be disseminated to ensure that 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 more information on grants under the BEACH Act, see: epa.gov/beach-tech/beach-grants.
To check on the latest beach closings and advisories, contact the state or tribal beach program listed at: epa.gov/beaches/state-territorial-tribal-and-epa-beach-program-contacts.
To view data on water quality monitoring results and public notifications reported to, see EPA’s national beach database, BEACON, at: watersgeo.epa.gov/beacon2/.
To access the EPA Sanitary Survey App for Marine and Fresh Waters, see: epa.gov/beach-tech/sanitary-surveys-recreational-waters#epa.
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EPA’s Region 10 serves communities in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and 271 Tribal Nations. Learn more about EPA’s work in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest at: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-10-pacific-northwest.