The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the availability of an additional $10 million in grants to eligible states, territories, and tribes to monitor beach water quality, bringing the five-year total to nearly $42 million. As a critical part of the Administration's Clean Beaches Plan, this is the fifth year that grants are being made available since the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act passed in October 2000.
"Americans want clean and healthy beaches," said EPA's Assistant Administrator for Water Ben Grumbles. "These funds will help improve water monitoring and public information programs to alert beachgoers about the health of their beaches."
The grants are designed to support water monitoring, which helps to ensure that the public receives information on how to protect their health when visiting beaches. Beach water monitoring results are used to issue warnings and closures if bacteria levels are at unsafe levels and to help identify actions needed to reduce pollution.
In addition, as part of the Clean Beaches Plan, EPA is developing new technology that will provide faster test results, which will enable local health agencies to more quickly determine if a beach should be open for swimming.
Additional information about the beach program, specific grant information and a table listing eligible states, territories and the distribution of 2005 funds are available at: http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/beaches and http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/beaches/grants/fy05fs.htm .