Blue Water Task Force

Surfrider Foundation's volunteer water quality monitoring program

Water Testing Labs

The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) 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.

Frequently Asked Questions                    

Planning a Water Testing Program

2016 Clean Water Annual Report2015 CW Report , 2014 BWTF Annual Report , 2013, 2012, 2011

Water Sampling Instructions  &  Sampling Data Sheet

BWTF Lab Instructions for IDEXX Quantitray/Enterolert method

MPN Table for the Quantitray Sealer

How-to videos posted by IDEXX for using the Quantitray Method with Enterolert or Colilert

Video demonstrations of Water Sampling Technique & Water Sample Preparation  in the lab

How to Communicate Blue Water Task Force Data

Safe Waters, Healthy Waters: A Guide for Citizen Groups on Bacteria Monitoring in Local Waterways, Center for Watershed Protection

Volunteer Bacteria Monitoring Program Guide, Neighborhood Water Watch, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper

Video  featuring Santa Monica High School students describing their testing program and their local pollution issues.  Illustrates sample collection and reading lab results.

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.

Handouts/1-pagers:  BWTF Overview ,   What's in the Water?

BWTF program presentation by Mara Dias : PDF & Webinar Recording

BWTF Manual circa 2003

Beach Signs and Public Notices of Beach Closures & Swimming Advisories

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.

Reducing Plastic Waste: Using an Autoclave & Glassware in the Lab

Source Tracking Guides for Bacterial Pollution

For more, see our Blue Water Task Force page on Beachapedia.

Mara Dias | Water Quality Manager |

Colleen Henn | Clean Water Coordinator |