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(118) Communicating Public Health Risk to Swimmers .
Kovatch, Charles*,1, Armitage, Thomas1, 1 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Office of Water, Washington, DC, USA
ABSTRACT- In an effort to protect public health and improve beach monitoring and public notification, Congress passed the Beaches Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act in October 2000 to amend the Clean Water Act. The BEACH Act authorizes EPA to award grants to eligible coastal and Great Lakes States, Territories, and Tribes to develop and implement their beach monitoring and public notification programs. The Act also requires EPA to develop and maintain a public right-to-know database to store and display state collected beach monitoring and notification data. This presentation will discuss State progress developing their beach monitoring and public notification programs and EPAs development of a national database and interactive website. Now in the second year of the BEACH Act Grant program, EPA published the National Beach Guidance and Required Performance Criteria for Grants document and over two years, awarded $12 million in BEACH Act Development Grants to 35 eligible coastal and Great Lakes States and Territories. With completion of this first step, the National Guidance document and the grants will help coastal and Great Lake grant recipients implement effective programs for monitoring and public notification of coastal recreational waters and promote consistent programs across the country. EPA is improving its existing Beach Watch database and website to store and display additional State collected beach monitoring and notification data. The database and website will better enable the public to view local beach monitoring and notification data and make educated decisions before going to the beach. The database and website will also be a valuable data resource for the public and States on advisory information; recreation water quality data; State/local agency program descriptions and contacts; links to time-relevant local recreation water quality data; and access to other EPA databases such as water quality standards, designated uses, and lists of impaired waters.
Key words: beaches, public health, database
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