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New England States Share in $10 Million from EPA to Protect Beaches

Release Date: 01/06/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, 617-918-1017

(Boston, Mass. - Jan. 6, 2006) - Getting an early start to ensure clean and safe beaches in 2006, EPA has committed nearly $10 million nationally in grants for use by coastal states and territories for beach water quality monitoring and notification programs.

The five coastal New England states are among the eligible 30 states and five territories to receive the EPA Beach Grants.

"While most New Englanders aren't thinking about hitting the beach in January, this new EPA funding will help ensure that families are better protected when heading to a beach vacation next summer," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "EPA Beach Grants, expected to total more than $1.1 million in New England this year, are an integral part of our work to improve water quality at beaches and keeping the public informed."

Beach water monitoring helps identify actions needed to reduce pollution, while providing data to towns and states needed to issue warnings and closures, if bacteria concentrations reach unsafe levels. In addition, as part of the Clean Beaches Plan, EPA is working on new technologies that will provide faster test results, enabling local health agencies to determine more quickly if a beach should be open for swimming.

Grants are available to eligible coastal states and territories based on the length of beach season, the miles of beach and the number of people who use that beach. In addition, money will be made available to eligible Indian tribes who apply. The grants, which cover a five-year period, will be awarded early this year. States and territories must make formal application to receive their allotted funds.

Based on previous interest and involvement from states, EPA anticipates that the five coastal New England states will receive the following Beach Grants in 2006:

- Connecticut $223,370
- Maine $254,730
- Massachusetts $254,440
- New Hampshire $204,530
- Rhode Island $212,640

During the past six years, EPA has provided nearly $52 million under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act of 2000 (BEACH) to states with shorelines along the nation's ocean coasts or around the Great Lakes.

The BEACH Act of 2000 requires coastal states and territories to adopt up-to-date pathogen criteria to protect beach goers from harmful bacteria. Information about EPA's beach program, grant information and a list of eligible states, territories and available 2006 funds can be found at: .

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