EPA awards $730k to support water quality monitoring and protect beachgoers in PNW, Alaska

EPA awards $730k to support water quality monitoring and protect beachgoers in PNW, Alaska

SEATTLE – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $9.75 million in grant funding to help coastal and Great Lakes communities protect the health of beachgoers. The funding will assist many states, Tribes, and territories in conducting water quality monitoring and public notification programs for their beaches.

“Every summer Americans flock to oceanside and Great Lakes beaches to enjoy recreation time with family and friends, making these important destinations as well as economic and tourism engines for our economy,” said Acting EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Bruno Pigott. “Protecting water quality at beaches is a priority for EPA and with these grants we are helping our state, Tribal, and local partners monitor water quality to ensure it is safe for residents and visitors.” 

Under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act, the EPA awards grants to eligible state, Tribal, and territorial applicants to help them and their local government partners monitor water quality at coastal and Great Lakes beaches. When bacteria levels are too high for safe swimming, these agencies notify the public by posting beach advisories or closings. 

Since 2001, the EPA has awarded nearly $230 million in BEACH Act grants to test beach waters for illness-causing bacteria, identify the sources of pollution problems, and help notify the public. Three factors influenced the EPA’s allocations for the 2024 grant amounts: (1) the length of the beach season, (2) the number of miles of shoreline, and (3) the populations of coastal counties. 

To be eligible for BEACH Act grants, states, Tribes, and territories must have coastal and Great Lakes recreational waters adjacent to beaches or similar points of access used by the public. They must also have a water quality standards program and EPA-approved numeric recreational water quality standards for coastal waters. Additionally, eligible entities must meet 11 performance criteria for implementing monitoring, assessment, and notification components of the beach program. 

In Region 10, the EPA’s 2024 BEACH Act grant funding will be allocated to the following states, Tribes, and territories contingent upon their meeting the eligibility requirements:

Alaska $161,029
Oregon $235,103
Washington $280,192
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community $53,676

Learn more about the BEACH Act grants.

Check the relevant state, Tribal or territorial beach program website for closing or advisory information at a particular beach.

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