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EPA National News: 1999 BEACH SURVEY RESULTS RELEASED
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1999 BEACH SURVEY RESULTS RELEASED

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2000

1999 BEACH SURVEY RESULTS RELEASED


Under its new BEACH Watch program, established in l997 by EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner, EPA has released the results of its third annual voluntary beach survey, reflecting swimming conditions last year at nearly 1900 (1,891) beaches nationwide. According to the l999 data, over a quarter (459) of the reported beaches were affected by at least one advisory or closure, most due to elevated bacteria levels, primarily from sewage overflows or storm water runoff. Over the last three years, the number of beaches which the states have reported has tripled, however, the percentage of advisories and beach closures has remained consistent, indicating continuing water quality impairment. The l999 information was submitted to EPA voluntarily by state and local environmental and public health officials from all coastal and Great Lakes states. They reported on local conditions, monitoring programs and health advisories or beach closures due to water pollution. The survey also shows that state and local monitoring programs are inconsistent, with at least one-third monitoring fewer than five times per month. Some programs use EPA-recommended indicators, but a number are still using older measures. In l997, EPA Administrator Browner initiated EPA’s BEACH Watch program to help states ensure public health and safety at beaches and all recreational waters. EPA is helping states set recreational water quality standards, based on EPA-established criteria, and helping states provide better monitoring and information to the public. EPA also funds research and provides technical support to states. This summer, EPA will propose tighter standards to reduce sewer overflows. EPA has recently completed its final storm water regulations to better control storm water. EPA’s BEACH Watch web site is at: http://www.epa.gov/ost/beaches. Additional survey details can be found in a fact sheet at the same site.

R-113 ###

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