Blue Water Task Force
Surfrider Foundation's volunteer water quality monitoring program
Water Testing Labs
The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) supported by 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, Emergen-C is 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
March 17 2015
The Surfrider Foundation is once again looking to Congress to restore federal funding for the EPA BEACH grants program that funds water quality monitoring and public notification programs at beaches across the country.
February 26 2015
The Marin County BWTF program has established a new lab at Tamalpais High School. The Tamalpais Environmental Science students have been out every week since the end of January sampling three area beaches. The Chapter is excited to bring the Blue Water Task Force program into this new public high school exposing the students to the science and methodology of water quality monitoring, local water pollution issues, and Surfrider’s mission to protect and enjoy oceans, waves and beaches.
February 25 2015
The Kaua’i BWTF released their annual program report in their local newspaper earlier this month. Their chapter tests 24 surf breaks and streams around the island on a monthly basis, and every year presents their findings along with water quality data collected by the State Department of Health (DOH) to increase public awareness of water quality concerns on Kaua’i.
February 17 2015
The Rincón Chapter BWTF has entered into a new collaboration with the Department of Applied Ocean Science & Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez (UPRM) and the Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System (CariCOOS). The purpose of the Prequntaguas project is to increase public health monitoring of fecal bacterial contamination in recreational waters in Northwest Puerto Rico.
February 15 2015
The Vancouver Island Chapter's Blue Water Youth Task Force water testing results can now be viewed on the Waterkeeper Swim Guide. Available online or through a free phone app, the Swim Guide reaches 150,000 beach users throughout North America.
January 26 2015
The Santa Cruz Chapter's Blue Water Task Force water testing program is supporting the efforts of a new Working Group tasked by the City to find and test out all potential solutions to the chronic contamination that has plagued Cowell's Beach over recent years.
January 22 2015
Oregon Parks Department is nearing completion on a new septic system at Short Sands beach to help address the water quality issues first identified in August of 2013, through the work of the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program, Department of Environmental Quality, Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force Program and concerned local ocean users.
January 07 2015
The Coos Bay Chapter has teamed up with a science class at Bandon High School to increase youth engagement in local water quality issues.
December 16 2014
Funding for the EPA BEACH Grants program was saved by Congress for the third year in a row, with the passage of the $1.1 trillion federal spending bill this week. State and local beach water quality monitoring and public notification programs remain in business for at least another year. Surfrider now looks ahead to next year’s budget and insuring long-term funding for the EPA BEACH Grant program.
December 15 2014
Thanks to the generosity of Eva Chiles Meyer Fund #1 and the Oneatta Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, the reach of the BWTF in Oregon will continue to grow in 2015. Projects to be supported include the launch of a new lab and program at Bandon High School, collaboration with the City of Newport on a water quality restoration project and a multi-agency partnership to source and educate on pollution issues at Oswald West State Park (Short Sands beach).
November 17 2014
Today's release of a report, which Surfrider contributed to, lists actions that state and federal agencies can take now and prepare for the future. It's right in line with Surfrider's Clean Water Initiative approach.
November 03 2014
The Surfrider San Diego County Chapter’s Hold On To Your Butt (HOTYB) committee has been very busy this year. In the beginning of 2014 the Chapter's HOTYB committee established a goal to install the 200th cigarette butt ash can in San Diego County. The strategic ash can program has been instrumental in reducing cigarette butt litter in San Diego County, with 2.16 million cigarette butts being kept off of its streets and beaches, and out of our oceans (using conservative estimates).
October 15 2014
Santa Cruz Chapter leader and Education Coordinator Amber Jones recently down with local Jack O’Neill to talk about the serious water quality issue at Cowell's Beach. The Chapter has been leading a campaign to get this popular beach off of California's dirtiest beach bummer list.
October 03 2014
The Vancouver Island Blue Water Youth Task Force began testing water quality at 15 local beaches and waterways in June, 2014. The Chapter is using this program to raise awareness community awareness of water quality issues and to engage local youth groups and First Nations.
September 17 2014
Surfrider's Clean Water Initiative is a solution for wet and dry years - and for drier and wetter climates. It connects together our work to reduce water use, utilize rainwater as a resource, and recycle "wastewater."
August 22 2014
The very modest 28-room East Deck Motel sits right next to Ditch Plains, a premier surf spot in Long Island. It has been sold and the new owners plan a huge members-only resort and entertainment complex, 2 stories, over 30,000 square feet including deck and pool with 100 parking spaces, many underground. The LLC formed with some secret silent partners goes by the name of ED40 and so does the proposal that would forever change the nature of this place.
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.