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Rhode Island to Receive More Than $200,000 from EPA for Beach Monitoring Funding will support water quality and public swimming advisories
BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing $201,500 to the Rhode Island Department of Health to support beach water quality monitoring and public notification efforts throughout the state.
“Protecting Rhode Island’s beaches is critical to safeguarding public health and sustaining local economies, especially during the summer tourism season,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator Alexandra Dunn. “This funding enables our partners in Rhode Island to have the tools and resources they need to adequately monitor beach water quality and deliver timely information to the public.”
“Rhode Island’s hundreds of miles of coastline are at the economic, environmental, and cultural heart of our state,” said Rhode Island Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “This grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will allow RIDOH’s Beach Monitoring Program and RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories to work together to ensure the safety and accessibility of this invaluable resource for people in every single ZIP code in Rhode Island.”
EPA is making funds available to Rhode Island to strengthen the state’s monitoring and notification programs, and make monitoring results readily available to the public. This grant is a portion of the $1,086,000 EPA expects to award to states throughout New England for beach monitoring and reporting this year. The funding is authorized under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act.
This funding will enable the Rhode Island Department of Health to protect beach goers from pollution by collecting water samples at major recreation locations, providing outreach to citizen groups, and posting advisories when beaches are unsafe for swimming because of poor water quality.
Nationwide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to award up to $9.3 million of total BEACH grants this year to 39 states, territories, and tribes that meet the eligibility requirements.
Under the 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.
For specific information on grants under the BEACH Act, grant guidance, and contact information for state and local beach programs, see: www.epa.gov/beach-tech/beach-grants.
Rhode Island’s beach monitoring data can be found at: http://health.ri.gov/programs/detail.php?pgm_id=119.