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Guam, American Samoa, CNMI to receive funds for beach monitoring

U.S. EPA funding will support water quality and public swimming advisories

06/21/2018
Contact Information: 
Dean Higuchi (higuchi.dean@epa.gov)
808-541-2711

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing more than $900,000 in total to the Guam Environmental Protection Agency, American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality to support beach water quality monitoring and information-sharing throughout each Territory.

“This funding allows the Territories to monitor beach water quality and make the results more easily available to the public,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “Thanks to this program, beachgoers can find up-to-date information to help them make informed decisions on when and where to swim.”

The announcement of the funding was made at the Pacific Islands Environment Directors Meeting being held this week in San Francisco. EPA is making over $300,000 available to each territory to strengthen their monitoring and notification programs, and to make monitoring results readily available to the public. This grant is a portion of the $1.64 million EPA expects to award to states and territories throughout the Pacific Southwest region for beach monitoring and reporting. The funding is authorized under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act.

 The Territories will continue to protect beachgoers from pollution by collecting water samples at major recreation locations, providing outreach to citizen groups, and posting advisories following sewage spills or high bacterial counts.

Beach advisories are posted when agencies detect high levels of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria. Beachgoers can avoid exposure to harmful contaminants by checking beach monitoring reports and swimming advisories, choosing to swim in less developed areas with good water circulation, and avoiding beaches near discharge pipes or urban beaches after a heavy rainfall.

For more information please visit: https://www.epa.gov/beaches.

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