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Agency also launches improved website for beach advisories and closures
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will provide $9.8 million in grants to 38 states, territories and tribes to help protect the nation’s beaches. The agency also launched an improved website for beach advisories and closings, which will allow the public to more quickly and easily access the most current water quality and pollution testing information for more than 6,000 U.S. beaches.
The website, called BEACON, has the capability to update as frequently as every two hours based on new data provided by states, territories and tribes. Users will have access to mapped location data for beaches and water monitoring stations, monitoring results for various pollutants such as bacteria and algae, and data on public notification of beach water quality advisories and closures. For the first time, users can also access reports that combine notifications and water quality monitoring data. The enhanced system also uses enhanced map navigation and report display tools.
The majority of beach advisories and closures in the U.S. are due to test results indicating bacterial contamination, which can come from sewer overflows, untreated storm water runoff, malfunctioning septic systems and more. The EPA grants will help local authorities monitor beach water quality and notify the public of conditions that may be unsafe for swimming.
More information on the grants is available at http://water.epa.gov/grants_funding/beachgrants/index.cfm