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EPA grant to help protect health at beaches

Release Date: 05/30/2007
Contact Information: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567

OCEAN CITY, Md. (May 30, 2007) – The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency presented Maryland with a $269,250 grant today to help protect health at Maryland beaches.

“EPA is proud to partner with Maryland to help bring awareness to public health issues at Maryland’s beautiful seashore that is visited and cherished by thousands of residents each year,” said Donald S. Welsh, administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

The grant comes under the BEACH (Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health) Act of 2000. To date, EPA has awarded $62 million to help 35 states and territories improve water testing and public notification of health risks during the summer.

“Enhanced beach monitoring enables us to continue the State's efforts to improve water quality, protect public health and ensure that people can continue to enjoy Maryland’s beautiful beaches,” said Shari T. Wilson, Maryland’s secretary of the environment. “We thank the EPA for both their generous grant and for supporting Maryland's efforts to keep our beaches safe.”

Maryland’s grant will be used to enhance beach monitoring and public notification of potential health risks at beaches, including support of online programs that provide updated information on beach conditions. Some funding will also be given to county governments and health agencies to focus on local beach projects.

The beauty of Maryland’s coastline and beach recreation areas attract local citizens and out-of-state visitors. The Maryland Department of Environment works with local health departments to enhance beach water quality monitoring and improve the public notification process regarding beach water quality. For more information about Maryland’s beaches program, visit www.mde.state.md.us/citizensinfocenter/health/beaches.asp.

Nationally, beach grants range from $150,000 to more than $530,000. Amounts are based on the length of beach season, miles of beaches and the number of people using the beaches. EPA estimates that Americans make 910 million trips to coastal areas each year, spending about $44 billion. For more information, check out the beach grants website at http://www.epa.gov/reg3esd1/coast/beachmd.htm .

Radio Editors’ Note: An EPA audio file on this topic is available in mp3 format.
See our radio news webpage www.epa.gov/region03/radionews.htm