Blue Water Task Force, Water Quality, Illness, Public Notification
March 17 2015

Water testing protects public health at US beaches

by Mara Dias

Have you ever gotten sick after a surf session or swim at the beach?

Wouldn't you want to know before you got into the water if it was polluted and could make you sick?

That is what is driving Surfrider's campaign to keep the EPA BEACH Grants program funded.  With a very small, under $10 million annual appropriation, this critical public health program helps pays for water quality testing and public notification programs at your beach, and at beaches across the country.

Unfortunately, the President's budget has proposed to eliminate all funding for this EPA program for the past four years. Fortunately, Congress has rejected this bad proposal three times now, and program funding has remained uninterrupted.  The long-term security for this funding remains uncertain though, as does the security of beach-goer health protection if this funding is eliminated. Swimmers, surfers and other beach users will be at risk due to lack of water safety information and could contract potential waterborne illnesses such as diarrhea, nausea, ear and eye infections and skin rashes. 

A small federal investment of less than $10 million is worth the cost to protect the health of 100 million US beach-goers and the $89.2 billion coastal tourism and recreation economy that they support.

Join Surfrider in asking Congress to once again stand up for clean beaches and restore funding for the EPA BEACH Grant program in the federal budget for FY2016.  Click here to send an email to your representatives in DC.

You have the right to know if a day at the beach is going to make you sick!