The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced over $1 million in grant funding to help protect public health in coastal and Great Lakes beach communities in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
The funding is being awarded to Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia to assist with water quality monitoring and public notification programs for local beaches.
“So many of us have a rich tradition of spending our summers splashing, swimming, and playing at our favorite beach, which is why it’s so important for EPA to help our local partners protect the water at coastal and Great Lakes beaches,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “These grants help Tribes, states, and territories fund programs to test water quality at beaches to ensure it’s clean for swimming and boating.”
Under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act, eligible states, territories, and tribes use the grant funds to monitor their beaches for bacteria, maintain and operate a public notification system to alert beachgoers, provide technical assistance to communities to assess pollution sources at specific beaches, and report annually to EPA on the results of monitoring and notification actions.
“With summer right around the corner, tens of millions of Americans are making plans to travel to our beautiful beaches in Delaware and around the country,” said Senator Carper (DE), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Fortunately, EPA is providing states and communities with the tools to ensure the safety of the water at our nation’s beaches, which are an integral part of our tourism economy and important ecosystems for wildlife and migratory birds.”
Since 2001, EPA has awarded nearly $216 million nationwide in BEACH Act grants to test beach waters for indicators of illness-causing bacteria and help with public notification and identification of the problem. This program is essential for protecting the public health of beachgoers across the country.
Contingent upon their meeting the eligibility requirements, EPA’s 2023 BEACH Act grant funding will be allocated to as follows: Delaware – $223,000; Maryland – $283,000; Penn- sylvania – $235,000; and Virginia $291,000.
To find information about beach health, the public can go to the following online sites:
—Delaware Recreational Water Monitoring at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/watershed-stewardship/assessment/recreational-water-monitoring/
—Maryland’s Healthy Beaches at https://mde.maryland.gov/programs/Water/MHB/Pages/Maryland-Healthy-Beaches-Home.aspx
—Swim Health Virginia at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-health/environmental-health-services/swim-healthy/