EPA Announces BEACH Act Grant at Wareham's Onset Beach

Massachusetts to receive $240,500 grant for beach monitoring...
The EPA presents Mass. Dept. of Public Health with $240,500 grant for beach monitoring today in Wareham (EPA photo)

From the US Environmental Protection Agency:

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing $240,500 to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to support beach water quality monitoring and public notification efforts throughout the commonwealth.

"Protecting Massachusetts' beaches is critical to safeguarding public health and sustaining local economies, especially during the summer tourism season," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Alexandra Dunn. "This funding enables our partners in Massachusetts to have the tools and resources they need to adequately monitor beach water quality and deliver timely information to the public."

"Since 2001, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has received EPA federal grant funding that assists our larger efforts to ensure that the commonwealth's recreational beaches are regularly monitored and to notify the public of potential water quality concerns," said Jana Ferguson, director of the Department's Bureau of Environmental Health. "We very much appreciate the ongoing EPA support on this important public health initiative."

EPA is making funds available to Massachusetts to strengthen the commonwealth's monitoring and notification programs, and make monitoring results readily available to the public. This grant is a portion of the $1,086,000 EPA expects to award to states throughout New England for beach monitoring and reporting this year. The funding is authorized under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act.

Nationwide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to award up to $9.3 million of total BEACH grants this year to 39 states, territories, and tribes that meet the eligibility requirements.

Under the BEACH Act, EPA awards grants to eligible state, territorial, and tribal 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 warnings or closing the beach. Since 2002, state and local governments, territories, and tribes have used more than $157 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 find and eliminate sources of water pollution that contribute to beach closures.

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.

Massachusetts' beach monitoring data can be found at: www.mass.gov/beaches

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