By John Burton
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Environmental organizations are voicing support for a new, more stringent federal safe-to-swim water quality threshold measurement for states that accept federal BEACH Act funding.
Organizations such as Clean Ocean Action, NY/NJ Baykeeper and Hackensack Riverkeeper applauded the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to adopt stricter water quality monitoring and notification practices in order to receive BEACH Act grants. These standards are consistent with recommendations offered by the various environmental groups, according to a press statement issued on behalf of the environmental organization.
States wishing to qualify for 2016 funding under the BEACH Act will be required to meet these new standards.
The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act, which became federal law in 2000, provides federal funding to states to address pathogens and pathogen indicators in coastal recreation waters.
States, which adopt the new standards, also will be required to implement more rapid testing and monitoring of beach water quality, offering beachgoers more immediate protection when contamination is detected, according to the groups.
States are responsible for testing water quality at all of the nation’s beaches.
These steps, the environmental groups say, will protect the more than 180 million people who visit the nation’s coastal and Great Lakes beaches each year.