Blue Water Task Force
Surfrider Foundation's volunteer water quality monitoring program
Water Testing Labs
The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) supported by Volkswagen and Emergen-C Blue ® is the Surfrider Foundation’s volunteer-run, water testing, education and advocacy program. Our chapters use this program to alert citizens and officials in their communities about water quality problems and to work toward solutions. The BWTF has demonstrated success by identifying problems with beach and coastal water pollution, raising public awareness of these incidents and working collaboratively with local stakeholders to find and implement pollution solutions.
The BWTF has also precipitated the establishment of state and local government water quality monitoring programs in many communities and continues to fill in data gaps, improving the public's knowledge of the safety of their beach water. BWTF water testing programs measure bacteria levels at both marine and freshwater beaches and compare them to federal water quality standards established by the EPA to protect public health in recreational waters.
As clean water becomes an increasingly scarce resource, Volkswagen and Emergen-C Blue are committed to supporting, enhancing and extending the efforts of the Blue Water Task Force. Additionally, for every box of Emergen-C Blue sold, 20 cents is donated directly to the BWTF to further the important work it is doing to improve water quality.
BWTF Lab Instructions for IDEXX Quant-tray/Enterolert method
MPN Table for the Quantitray Sealer
Video demonstration of water sample preparation in the lab
Ocean Illness Form. Use this web-based tool to collect reports of people getting sick from swimming or surfing at your local beaches. Chapters can set up “alerts” on the site that will send them emails whenever a report is submitted within their designated area.
What's in the Water? 1-page handout
Video featuring Santa Monica High School students describing their testing program and their local pollution issues. Illustrates sample collection and reading lab results.
BWTF Manual circa 2003
Video Surfrider Foundation Europe Ocean Report: Water Quality & Health, this 11 min video provides a good overview of beach pollution issues, health impacts of pollution & how beaches are monitored and managed in Europe. Most issues are very relevant to US too. Good educational video to show BWTF volunteers or students.
Source Tracking Guides for Bacterial Pollution
July 22 2014
One of Surfrider’s newest BWTF labs in Montauk, NY, has already contributed to better community awareness of bacterial contamination at a local beach. Armed with their first year of data, they were able to convince the Town of East Hampton to post a warning sign of a chronic bacteria pollution problem at a beach favored by families with small children.
July 07 2014
The Marin County Chapter has been sharing their volunteer water quality data with local officials and the media as plans are made to increase recreational access to a chronically polluted bay & wetland area and the County struggles to remediate aging and failing sewer infrastructure.
June 03 2014
Surfrider is pleased to release the 2013 Blue Water Task Force Annual Report. The Blue Water Task Force is our volunteer-run water testing program that Chapters are implementing to protect their local waves, beaches and coastal ecosystems.
June 03 2014
The Port Orford BWTF in Oregon is a collaborative effort between the Curry County Surfrider Chapter, the Redfish Rocks Community Team the local School District, providing citizen-science opportunities in and around the Red Rocks Marine Reserve.
June 03 2014
During the summer of 2013, the Eastern Long Island Chapter began water quality testing at some of the most popular swimming and surfing beaches on Long Island, extending the BWTF's presence on the East Coast. The Chapter is using this new water testing program to raise public awareness of local water quality challenges.
June 03 2014
The San Luis Obispo SLO BWTF began 2013 as a small water testing program with two volunteers who conducted weekly sampling at two sites. Throughout the year, the Chapter’s BWTF Coordinator built a team of dedicated water samplers and testers that are out monitoring eleven sites on a weekly basis.
May 02 2014
On Sunday, April 6, 2014 the Virginia Beach chapter initiated their BWTF water quality monitoring program! They sampled 3 ocean beaches, and happily all three sites tested clean. The Chapter plans to track the water quality at these sites as the weather gets warmer and the summer crowds arrive.
March 21 2014
For the past two decades, the Ventura Chapter has been identifying problems and promoting solutions for clean water throughout the Ventura River watershed. Their proactive urban watershed program is helping to protect water supply and quality, coastal habitats and recreational opportunities by restoring ecosystem function throughout the watershed.
March 06 2014
The President's FY2015 budget released by the White House this week once again proposes to eliminate all federal funding for the EPA Beach Grant program that supports water testing at beaches around the country.
March 03 2014
The Kaua'i Chapter publishes a summary of their water testing findings in their local paper every year. This is a great way to reach their local community with information on which beaches are clean and where local pollution problems exist.
January 17 2014
The US Congress passed a 2014 funding bill that restores funding for the EPA Beach Grants program that supports beach water testing programs in coastal states across the country. The President signed the compromise bill promptly, averting another government shutdown.
December 11 2013
After capturing media attention with high bacteria levels measured during a Brown Water Advisory in November, the Kaua'i Chapter keeps the momentum going and questions the effectiveness of these public health advisories. They would like the advisories issued sooner, to cover more beaches, and require signs at the beach.
November 13 2013
While the Hawaii State Department of Health issued a Brown Water Advisory on Kaua'i last week, Surfrider's Blue Water Task Force measured extremely high bacteria levels at stormwater impacted streams and beaches.
August 29 2013
The BWTF is continuing to grow on the east coast. The Eastern Long Island Chapter and their local partner, Concerned Citizens of Montauk, have just gotten the newest BWTF water testing lab up and running this summer.
August 14 2013
The North Coast BWTF met with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to better understand the sources of pollution at Oswald West State Park responsible for the health advisories issued at Short Sands Beach.
August 13 2013
We are very happy to see a draft funding bill from the US Senate proposing to restore funding for the EPA Beaches Grant program, but there is still work to do to ensure that beach water testing programs across the country survive the latest round of federal budget cuts.