Water: Beach Grants
National Beach Guidance and Required Performance Criteria
Other Beaches Links
Foreword, Acknowledgements and Executive Summary
Our nation's beaches are a valuable recreational resource and one of the top vacation choices for Americans. Whether we use them for swimming, boating, or simply relaxing and enjoying the aesthetic qualities, beaches are important to most Americans. EPA estimates that each year Americans take millions of trips to coastal areas and spend billions of dollars at beach destinations and communities.
To help protect public health at the Nation's beaches, the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act was signed into law in October 2000. The BEACH Act requires EPA to publish performance criteria for monitoring and assessing coastal recreation waters and for promptly notifying the public when those waters exceed applicable water quality standards. The act also authorizes EPA to award grants to help governments implement beach monitoring and notification programs that are consistent with the performance criteria.
This document, the National Beach Guidance and Required Performance Criteria for Grants, outlines the performance criteria that eligible coastal or Great Lakes state, tribal, or local governments must meet to receive grants to implement coastal recreation water monitoring and public notification programs under the BEACH Act. This document also provides useful guidance for both coastal and inland beach monitoring and notification programs. The BEACH Act, however, authorizes the award of grant funds to support monitoring and notification programs for coastal recreation waters only.
EPA developed this document in a cooperative consultation process with a wide variety of agencies and interested parties. The Agency hosted several regional workshops to identify preliminary concepts and gather specific recommendations. Following the workshops, EPA developed a draft guidance document, and several review teams provided detailed comments to EPA for consideration. EPA published a draft document on July 31, 2001, and announced a 60- day comment period that closed on October 1, 2001. During the comment period, EPA, the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators, and the Coastal States Organization hosted five public forums throughout the United States to discuss the draft. This final document incorporates responses to those comments and others that EPA received.
With the publication of the final National Beach Guidance and Required Performance Criteria for Grants, we are taking an important step forward in implementing the BEACH Act. We look forward to a continued cooperative effort with our partners to protect and improve the quality of our nation's beaches.
Signed G. Tracy Mehan III, Assistant Administrator for Water
The National Beach Guidance and Required Performance Criteria for Grants was prepared by the Office of Science and Technology within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water. Close cooperation with other EPA offices and other partners at the federal, state, and local levels helped us fully develop and improve the document.
The principal coauthors are Thomas Armitage, Rick Hoffmann, and Charles Kovatch within OST.
They were greatly assisted, from concept to completion of the document, by the internal Beach Guidance Review Team members from EPA's headquarters, regional offices, and other offices. Review team members from the Office of Water included Lisa Almodovar, Rod Frederick, Latisha Parker, Jim Pendergast, Robert Shippen, Steve Schaub, Elizabeth Southerland, and James Woodley. The individuals from the Office of General Counsel included Leslie Darman and Carol Ann Siciliano. EPA regional beach coordinators included Terry Fleming, Helen Grebe, Nancy Grundahl, Joel Hansel, Janet Hashimoto, Matt Liebman, Rob Petersen, Mike Schaub, Holly Wirick, and Phil Woods. The representatives from the Office of Research and Development included Kris Brenner, Mimi Dannel, and Alfred Dufour.
The authors especially acknowledge the many thoughtful comments received from the external Beach Guidance Review Team. This group, composed of representatives from state and local environmental and health agencies as well as various environmental groups (see appendix A), contributed many hours and added significantly to the development and review of this document. Members included James Alamillo, Fred Banach, Bart Bibler, Kathy Brohan, Sarah Chasis, Jody Connor, Fred Earnhardt, Linda Eichmiller, Richard Eskin, Suzanne Giles, Mark Gold, Darryl Hatheway, Catherine Hazelwood, Mark Horton, Ramesh Kapur, Kerry Kehoe, Virginia Loftin, Bob Masanado, Robin McCraw, Ray Montgomery, Bruce Moulton, Judy Nelson, Jan Newton, Jack Pingree, Debbie Rouse, Dave Rosenblatt, Nancy Ross, Fun Shimabukuro, Susan Sylvester, Sol Sussman, Mitzy Taggart, Blake Traudt, and Leslie Williams.
This document, the National Beach Guidance and Required Performance Criteria for Grants, outlines the performance criteria that eligible coastal or Great Lakes state, tribal, or local governments must meet to receive grants to implement coastal recreation water monitoring and public notification programs under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH Act). This document also provides useful guidance for both coastal and inland beach monitoring and notification programs. The BEACH Act, however, authorizes the award of grant funds to support monitoring and notification programs for coastal recreation waters only.
This document sets forth performance criteria for
- monitoring and assessing coastal recreation waters adjacent to beaches (or similar points of access used by the public) to determine attainment of applicable water quality standards for pathogen indicators and
- promptly notifying the public of any exceedance or likelihood of exceedance of applicable water quality standards for pathogen indicators for coastal recreation waters.
EPA is required to publish such performance criteria under Clean Water Act section 406(a). Section 406(b) authorizes EPA to award grants to states and tribes to implement monitoring and notification programs, but only if the programs meet certain requirements. One of these requirements is that the monitoring and notification programs must be consistent with EPA's performance criteria. The performance criteria provide the basis for EPA's evaluation of grant applications when deciding whether to award monitoring and notification program implementation grants under section 406(b). This document is intended to be used by potential grant recipients to implement effective monitoring and notification programs that will be eligible for grants under section 406. This document also includes EPA's recommendations for implementing programs consistent with the performance criteria. The general requirements of the nine performance criteria are summarized below; specific requirements are discussed in the relevant chapters.
|Category||Performance Criterion||General Requirements||Chapter|
|Evaluation and Classification||1||Develop risk-based beach evaluation and classification plan||3|
|Monitoring||2||Develop tiered monitoring plan||4|
|3||Monitoring report submission and delegation||4|
|4||Methods and assessment procedures||4|
|Public Notification and Prompt Risk Communication||5||Public notification and risk communication plan||5|
|6||Measures to notify EPA and local governments||5|
|7||Measures to notify the public||5|
|8||Notification report submission and delegation||5|
|Public Evaluation||9||Public evaluation of program||2|
In addition, this document also can serve as a reference guide for how and when to conduct preliminary beach assessments because it outlines protocols for water sample collection, sample handling, and laboratory analysis. It also provides information about using predictive models to estimate indicator levels and includes procedures for notifying the public about beach advisories, closings, and openings.
The document contains five chapters and accompanying appendices. Chapter 1 describes the BEACH Act and summarizes human health concerns related to microbial contamination of recreation waters. Chapter 2 outlines the performance criteria. Chapter 3 introduces the risk-based beach evaluation and classification process for prioritizing waters for monitoring and notification. Chapter 4 gives the methodology for monitoring and assessing recreation waters, and Chapter 5 explains risk communication and the process for notifying the public of health hazards due to bacterial contamination.
For more information on the performance criteria or implementation grants, please contact us.