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EPA awards $319K to support water quality monitoring at Puerto Rico beaches

The agency has awarded nearly $230 million in BEACH Act grants since 2001.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced $319,00 in grant funding to help Puerto Rico’s coastal communities protect the health of beachgoers. The funding will assist in conducting water quality monitoring and public notification programs for its beaches, it stated.

“This funding helps keep beaches and coastal waters clean so that people can have fun, relax and enjoy all the beauty that Puerto Rico coastlines have to offer,” said Lisa F. Garcia, EPA regional administrator. “EPA funding is vital for successful beach monitoring and notification programs.”

Under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act, the EPA awards grants to eligible state, tribal and territorial 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 advisories or closings.

Since 2001, the EPA has awarded nearly $230 million in BEACH Act grants to test beach waters for illness-causing bacteria, identify the sources of pollution problems, and help notify the public. Three factors influenced the EPA’s allocations for the 2024 grant amounts: (1) the length of the beach season, (2) the number of miles of shoreline and (3) the populations of coastal counties.

To be eligible for BEACH Act grants, states, tribes and territories must have coastal and Great Lakes recreational waters adjacent to beaches or similar points of access used by the public. They must also have a water quality standards program and EPA-approved numeric recreational water quality standards for coastal waters.

Additionally, eligible entities must meet 11 performance criteria for implementing monitoring, assessment and notification components of the beach program.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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