team what £PA Is
        to protect pttbtic health 
The BEACH Act authorizes EPA to award grants to eligible
coastal and Great Lakes states to help state, tribal, and local
governments develop and implement their beach monitoring
and public notification programs.

  • In 2001 and 2002 EPA awarded $12 million in grants
    to states to develop programs to monitor water quality
    at beaches and to notify the public when water quality
    problems occur.

  • In 2003 EPA is awarding $9.9 million in implementation

  * Grants are awarded to states using an allocation formula
    based on three factors: length of swimming season, total
    shoreline miles, and 2000 census population data.

  • In 2004 EPA expects to continue awarding grants to
    states to support their beach monitoring and notification

  • States receiving grants will be required to submit beach
   water quality monitoring and notification data to EPA.
   To make data submission easier, EPA is creating a new
    database to store beach monitoring and notification data
    and display the data on the Internet.

  • You can find more information on BEACH Act Grants at

EPA published the National Beach Guidance and Required
Performance Criteria for Grants in July 2002. The guidance lists
the performance criteria that eligible applicants must meet
to receive grants to implement beach water monitoring and
public notification programs under the BEACH Act. This
guidance is also a reference on assessing beach health risks and
designing water sampling programs.
                                                           EPA created the BEACH Program in  1997 to reduce the r
                                                           through improvements in recreational water monitoring, pollut
                                                           passed the BEACH Act in 2000. The BEACH Act establishei
                                                           governments for beach monitoring and public notification, pub'
                                                           monitoring data.
Water Quality Standards
EPA encourages states and tribes to use the Agency's
published Bacteria Criteria for Recreational Waters which
recommends the use ofE. es/zand enterococci as indicators
of fecal contamination. Although some states currently use
fecal coliform or total coliform as indicators, the BEACH
Act requires coastal and Great Lakes states to adopt EPA's
recommended indicators in their water quality standards
by April 2004. Currently, 17 of 35 states have adopted the
published water quality criteria.

Survey     ?  ;
Each year, through the National Health Protection Survey of
Beaches (NHPSBjj state and local agencies voluntarily submit
information to EPA on their beach monitoring and public
notification programs. During the 2002 swimming season,
NHPSB revealed that out of 2,823 beaches surveyed, 709 were
affected by one or more advisories or closings. The survey is a
national inventory of swimming beaches, monitoring agencies,
and recreational water quality standards. It documents the
water quality standards, monitoring methods, and procedures
agencies use to issue beach advisories and closings.

  •  The number of beaches covered in the survey increased
    from 1,021 in 1997 to 2,823 in 2002. The number of
    agencies participating increased from 159 to 227 in the
    same period.

  •  You can find survey information about individual
    beaches on the  BEACH Watch Web site at
    http://yosemite. nsf.
      2800 —





   J 1800—
    u     —
    S 1600—



               1997  1998   1999   2000   2001  2002
                       Swimming Season

     Number of Beaches Reporting from 1997 to 2002

k of illness to users of the Nation's recreational waters
n control, risk assessment, and communication. Congress
requirements for EPA to award grants to states and local
h monitoring and notification guidance, and collect beach
          The survey respondents reported that in many cases,
          the source of pollution resulting in beach advisories and
          closings is unknown. The identified sources of beach
          water pollution are storm water runoff, wildlife, sewage
          overflows, boating wastes, and leaking septic systems.
                                             Sewage line
                                                  Septic system
                                          Boat discharges
          Sources of Pollution Hint Resulted In Advisories and Closings In 2002
       Current bacteria indicator methods require 24 hours before
       the results are known. EPA is developing new and faster
       methods to detect pathogens and pathogen indicators of
       fecal contamination. New methods developed by EPA will
       be evaluated in epidemiological studies to develop better
       understanding of the link between exposure to high bacteria
       levels and health effects. Because there can be a large
      • amount of variability in measuring bacteria levels in water,
       EPA is conducting studies to measure temporal and spatial
       variation of bacteria. This will help states design a better
       sampling program.
"k Get informed:
  *  Visit EPA's Beach Watch Web site at
    waterscience/beaches! You can find out whether a specific
    beach is being monitored, who performs the monitoring,
    for what pollutants they monitor, and if any beach
    advisories or closings have been issued.
  *  Learn about the health of your local beach! Contact your
    state, tribal, or local health or environmental protection
    office to find out if and when the water at your beach is
    monitored, who performs the monitoring, and where the
    results are posted.

  •  Learn about the sources of water pollution! Most
    beach pollution comes from  activities upstream, so it is
    important for you to know about pollutants entering the
    water fro.m many different locations. EPA's Surf Your
    Watershed^Web site ( will help you
    find out .about pollutants and sources that affect the water
    at your beach.

•^ Get involved:
There are many ways you can get involved in protecting and
preserving water quality at our Nation's beaches. Here are just
a few:

  *  Join! Getting involved in a local clean-up effort is a great
    way to help federal, state, and local officials protect your
    health when you swim at the beach. Chances are you
    can join a group ,or organization that's already working
    to protect beach water quality. Find out which groups
    are active in your area by visiting EPA's Adopt Your
    Watershed Web site at
  '  Volunteer! Become a volunteer water quality monitor
    and learn about water quality issues while helping to
    protect the Nation's water resources. Find out more at

  *  Protect water quality at home! The best way to reduce
    beach water pollution is through watershed-based
    pollution prevention. Many of these efforts require major
    activities by states, counties, or municipalities to improve
    sewage treatment plants and keep untreated sewage out of
    the water.

  •  Prevent beach water pollution!  Conserving water, keeping
    septic systems properly maintained, disposing of boat
    sewage at onshore pumpout facilities, picking up after
    pets, and keeping storm drains clean can all make a
    difference. Visit
    top_things.html to learn about other things you can do to
    protect your coastal watershed.

     Find out what beaches are monitored regularly
     and posted for closures or swimming advisories
     by visiting the BEACH Watch Web site at

     Avoid swimming at beaches with visible
     discharge pipes or at urban beaches within
     24 hours after a heavy rainfall.
                                          For More Information
                                For more information about water quality at your beach,
                              contact your local or state health or environmental protection
                               department. You can find the telephone number in the blue
                                       section of your local telephone directory.
                                              You may also contact:
                                      U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                                                 Office of Water
                                            BEACH Program (4305T)
                                          1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
                                             Washington, DC 20460


Cover photo;
 Beach landscape, Robert De Jonge, courtesy Michigan Travel Bureau