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New England beach water quality monitoring funding

September 1, 2022

EPA BEACH Act supports pollution control, public health.

Since clean, healthy beaches are critical to supporting local economies and ecosystems, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a $255,000 grant to the Massachusetts Department of Health to support beach water quality monitoring and statewide public notification efforts during the remainder of 2022 and into the 2023 beach season.

EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash said, “This federal funding will be used to better monitor our coastline for pollution and other public health threats” on behalf of residents and visitors.

The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act provides financial assistance 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, the public is notified by posted beach warnings or beach closures.

Federal enables the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to conduct water quality monitoring at 565 public marine beaches in more than 60 communities,” according to Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke.

Every year, the program collects more than 8,400 water quality samples from over 580 locations.

“On Cape Cod, bathing beach water quality monitoring is a regional effort that requires collaboration between the state, county, and local Town Health Agents. This grant funding is critically important for the continuation of monitoring programs that inform the public of safe swimming areas,” said Mark Ells, Barnstable Town Manager.

This year EPA expects to award more than $1.1 million in federal funds to the five coastal New England states.