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EPA Commits $10 Million to Protect the Nation's Beaches

Release Date: 01/09/2007
Contact Information: (Media only) Dale Kemery, (202) 564-4355 / kemery.dale@epa.gov (All other inquiries) John Wathen, (202) 566-0367 / wathen.john@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. - Jan. 9, 2007) Thirty states and five territories will share $10 million in grants for beach water-quality monitoring and public notification programs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today. Beach water-quality monitoring helps local authorities identify what steps to take to reduce pollution and can lead to advisories or closures when bacteria concentrations reach unhealthy levels.

The grant amount is based on the length of the beach season, miles of beaches and number of beachgoers. All 35 coastal and Great Lakes states and territories maintain monitoring programs using the EPA funding.

"The Bush Administration is committed to keeping America's beaches and Great Lakes shores clean and healthy," said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles. "By improving water quality and informing beachgoers, EPA is helping States and communities protect public health and coastal ecosystems and economies."

EPA is also focusing efforts on developing new technologies to rapidly analyze beaches for bacteria contamination. Studies involving state-of-the-art detection methods, coupled with population and illness surveys, are under way at various beaches to evaluate the new analytical approaches.

During the past seven years, EPA has provided nearly $62 million under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act of 2000. Before the BEACH Act passed, state and local monitoring and notification programs often differed across the country and provided varying levels of swimmer protection. EPA estimates that Americans make 910 million trips to coastal areas each year, spending about $44 billion.

If all 35 eligible states and territories apply and meet the performance criteria, the distribution of the funds for year 2007 is expected to be:

For the state Expected 2007
or territory of: allocation:

Alabama $262,510
Alaska $150,000
American Samoa $302,200
California $522,920
Connecticut $224,010
Delaware $211,040
Florida $534,700
Georgia $287,200
Guam $302,680
Hawaii $323,660
Illinois $244,120
Indiana $205,960
Louisiana $325,370
Maine $256,240
Maryland $271,150
Massachusetts $255,940
Michigan $280,610
Minnesota $204,390
Mississippi $257,720
New Hampshire $204,660
New Jersey $279,870
New York $352,830
North Carolina $303,920
Northern Marianas $303,430
Ohio $224,300
Oregon $229,570
Pennsylvania $223,150
Puerto Rico $329,240
Rhode Island $212,990
South Carolina $297,940
Texas $385,180
U.S. Virgin Islands $303,270
Virginia $279,020
Washington $272,250
Wisconsin $225,960

More information: epa.gov/waterscience/beaches/grants/