Clean Beaches Plan
In 1996, over 2,500 beaches in the United States were posted with warnings or closed for at least one day because the water was contaminated. Today, many beaches are either not monitored well or not monitored at all, so Americans continue to face risks of illness from swimming and other activities in coastal areas, lakes, and rivers that contain disease-causing microbes.
On Wednesday, April 20, 2004, we announced the Administration's Clean Beaches strategy. The strategy includes, among other things, a Clean Beaches Plan.
By carrying out the Clean Beaches Plan, we are helping state, tribal, and local beach managers strengthen their programs. A strategy for reducing the risks of infection to people who use our recreational waters, the Plan recognizes that beach managers need tools that allow for local and regional differences in pollution sources and climate. The Clean Beaches Plan describes what we plan to do over the next couple of years to achieve two major goals: promote recreational water quality programs nationwide and create scientific improvements that support timely recreational water monitoring and reporting.
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- Press Release: Bush administration makes strong commitment to clean beaches (April 20, 2004)
- Letter from James L. Connaughton, CEQ and John D. Graham, OMB to Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA (PDF) (2 pp, 65K) (April 16, 2004)
- Response letter (PDF) (2 pp, 60K) (April 19, 2004) from Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA to James L. Connaughton, CEQ and John D. Graham, OMB regarding EPA's Commitment to Clean Beaches
Please contact Rich Healy (firstname.lastname@example.org) for section 508 accessible letters.
|Letters to States||Letters to states and territories reiterating BEACH Act requirement to adopt criteria as protective as EPA's current criteria, and describing EPA's planned actions to make sure protective standards are in place||Completed|
|List of Beaches||Updated list of beaches on coastal and Great Lakes waters including identification of beaches subject to a monitoring and notification program. Required by the BEACH Act.||Completed|
|Grants Availability||Annual grants to states, tribes and territories to develop and implement a beach monitoring and notification program to give public information about health conditions at beaches||Completed|
|Proposed Bacteria Rule||Statute requires states and territories to adopt criteria as protective of health as EPA's current pathogen criteria by April 10, 2004. If not, EPA must promptly propose water quality standards||Completed|
|Final Bacteria Rule||EPA issued a final rule establishing national bacteria standards||Completed|
|Bacteria Implementation Guidance||As needed, additional guidance for implementing EPA's 1986 pathogen criteria in water quality standards, beach, TMDL, and permitting programs||Two fact sheets completed|
|2005 Beach Report||Updated report on beach closings and advisories during 2005 calendar year||Completed|
|2006 National Beach Conference||Meeting of state beach program leaders to exchange information and learn from each others' successes.||Completed|
|Final Report to Congress||Report on progress of BEACH Act implementation, required by statute||Completed|
|Epidemiological Studies||Completed four studies in the Great Lakes to develop better pathogen indicators of illnesses at beaches (starting first marine study in 2005). Multi-year effort required by the BEACH Act conducted by EPA's Office of Research and Development.||Ongoing|
|New Pathogen Criterion||Development of new water quality criteria for protection of swimmers, based on epidemiological studies. Required by BEACH Act||Ongoing|
Map of States and Territories covered under the BEACH Act
Map of coastal recreation waters (PDF) (94 K, 1 pp) as defined by Clean Water Act Section 502, as amended by the BEACH Act.
Richard Healy (email@example.com); 202-566-0405
- BEACH Act
- Status Report: Bacterial Water Quality Standards for Recreational Waters (Freshwater and Marine Waters)
- Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Bacteria - 1986 (PDF) (24 pp, 662 K)
- Water Quality Standards home page
- Water Quality Criteria home page
- Microbiology Home Page