EPA Acts to Make Beaches Cleaner and
Kansas City InfoZine
Published November 9th, 2004
Washington, D.C. - "This Administration has taken
an important step in fulfilling the promise of clean,
safe beaches for every American," said EPA Administrator
Mike Leavitt. "We're putting in place improved, health-based
standards for pathogens in water to further protect the
public, particularly children who are often more vulnerable
to bacteria-causing illnesses in beach water."
The BEACH Act of 2000 required coastal states and states
bordering the Great Lakes to adopt bacteria standards
by April 2004 to better protect beach bathers from harmful
pathogens. For states that have not yet adopted more protective
standards, the Act required EPA to establish standards.
Acting Assistant Administrator Ben Grumbles noted, "The
rule reflects our priorities of working with States and
others to improve water quality monitoring, public health
protection and coastal watersheds -- all important recommendations
of the US Commission on Ocean Policy in its recent Report."
Of the 35 states and territories that have coastal or
Great Lakes recreational waters, 14 have adopted water
quality standards that are as protective of health as
EPA's recommended criteria for all their coastal recreation
waters, five have adopted the criteria for some of their
coastal recreation waters, 13 states are in the process
of fully adopting the criteria and three have not begun
the process. Although the agency is establishing federal
standards through this final rule, any state that adopts
its own standards that are as protective as EPA's and
receives approval will be removed from these federal requirements.
EPA will continue to grant funding to all BEACH Act states
and territories regardless of their status under this
action. The agency is committed to ensuring continued
monitoring of the nation's beaches and public notification
of beach closures and advisories. EPA estimates that Americans
take a total of 910 million trips to coastal areas each
year and spend about $44 billion at those beach locations.
EPA has provided about $32 million in grants to help states
implement this monitoring program.
For more information about the new criteria and the rule,
For more information in general about beaches and EPA's
activities to protect them, see: www.epa.gov/beaches .