News Releases from Region 05
CHICAGO– As peak beach season arrives in the United States, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to award $202,000 to the Minnesota Department of Health to develop and implement beach monitoring and notification programs.
“Enjoying the beach is a quintessential pastime for Americans every summer,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Through EPA’s BEACH grants, we are ensuring communities across the country can keep their beaches safe and enjoyable for all.”
“The Minnesota Lake Superior Beach Monitoring Program is a collaborative effort supported by state and local health officials and citizens to monitor health risks to users of recreational waters on the lake’s coast,” said Cindy Hakala, Beach Program Coordinator. “Grant funds will be used by the Program to monitor 38 beaches along 206 miles of coast.”
“EPA’s grant will be used to help inform beachgoers about water quality so they can better enjoy Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Superior beaches this summer without any undue worry,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp.
Under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (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.
Nationwide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to award up to $9.3 million of total BEACH grants to 39 states, territories, and tribes that meet the eligibility requirements.
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.