New EPA funding could be used on local beaches
Seattle, WA – The EPA has awarded over $9 million for grants to monitor the quality of beach water.
In a release, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they have begun awarding up to $9.24 million across 39 states to develop and implement beach monitoring and notification programs.
“Clean water is essential for drinking and recreation,” said Chris Hladick, EPA Regional Administrator in Seattle. “Through BEACH grants, we’re helping states and tribes make sure beachgoers stay healthy when enjoying our coastal waters. Information is power, and consistent water quality monitoring gives families the information they need to decide where to swim safely.”
Under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act, EPA awards grants to eligible state, territorial, and tribal applicants to help monitor water quality at coastal and Great Lakes beaches.
When bacteria levels are too high for safe swimming, these agencies notify the public in several ways, including by signage, posting beach warnings or closing the beach.
Since 2002, state and local governments, territories, and tribes have used nearly $167 million in EPA BEACH Act grants to monitor beaches for fecal indicator bacteria, maintain and operate public notification systems, identify local pollution sources, and report results of monitoring and notification activities to EPA. Grant funding under the BEACH ACT is part of a broader EPA effort to address sources of water pollution that contribute to beach closures.
In Washington, these funds total $337,000.
In Grays Harbor, Westhaven State Park, Half Moon Bay, South Jetty, and Westport-The Groynes beaches are monitored under the BEACH grant.
EPA’s 2019 BEACH Act grant funding, should all eligibility requirements be met, will be allocated through the Pacific Northwest as follows:
Gretchen Pikul, [email protected]
Alaska Department of the Environmental Conservation
Division of Water, Nonpoint Sources Section
Aaron Borisenko, [email protected]
Water Quality Monitoring Manager
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
O: (503) 693-5723
Tara Chetock, [email protected]
Oregon Health Authority
Public Health Division, Environmental Public Health
O: (971) 673-1496
Julianne Ruffner [email protected]
BEACH Program Coordinator – WA State Departments of Ecology & Health
C: (360) 480-4868
Makah Tribe: $50,000
Riley Smith, [email protected]
Water Quality Specialist
O: (360) 645-3162
C: (360) 645-0366
Ray Colby, [email protected]
Makah Fisheries Assistant Director
C: (360) 640-8201 cell
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community: $50,000
Nicole J. Casper, [email protected]
Water Resources Manager
Dept. of Environmental Protection
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
O: (360) 466-3374 desk
C: (360) 661-0683 cell
For specific information on grants under the BEACH Act, grant guidance, and contact information for state and local beach programs, see: www.epa.gov/beach-tech/beach-grants.
To check on the latest closings and advisories at particular beaches, the public should contact the relevant state, tribal, or territorial beach program listed at: www.epa.gov/beaches/state-territorial-tribal-and-epa-beach-program-contacts.