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Huntington Beach to Participate in EPA Study on Fast Beach Water Screening Tests

Release Date: 08/01/2003
Contact Information:

Michael Brown, 202-564-6766 or 202-236-4735 (mobile) /
Suzanne Ackerman, 202-564-7819 /

(08/01/03) To ensure the safe enjoyment of America's beaches, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is developing a new generation of water quality tests that provide faster results and reduce the risk of waterborne illness among beach-goers. Huntington Beach in Cleveland, Ohio, is the site for the second of two studies conducted this summer. The new water quality tests will provide results in two hours or less, rather than the standard 24 hours, allowing beach managers to test the water in the morning and make reliable, fast decisions about the safety of beach waters the same day.

U.S. Sen. George V. Voinovich of Ohio and Dr. Paul Gilman, the EPA Science Advisor and Assistant Administrator for Research and Development, visited Huntington Beach the first day of the study to talk about the importance of the research. EPA will conduct research through 2005 during the summer months at different beaches on the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as part of this major research effort.

“Swimming in water of poor quality can be a significant cause of stomach, respiratory, eye and ear illnesses in the summer time. Our goals are to prevent those illnesses and improve the quality of the water for recreation. EPA’s science is providing the critical information that health officials and beach managers need to make decisions to protect the public health,” said Gilman. “This important field research could not be done without the support of the community, and we greatly appreciate the contributions of the Cleveland Metroparks, Cuyahoga County Health Board and the citizens who agree to participate in this study. It also requires the support of Congress. Senator George Voinovich is a champion of using sound science to protect human health and the environment, and he continues to play a major role in restoring the Great Lakes to their natural vitality.”

Approximately 5,000 volunteers will be recruited to provide information about their activities and health status after beach visits. The study is being conducted on weekends through mid-September and coordinated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and the Cleveland Metroparks. In May, research began at the first site, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Indiana.

In 1999, EPA announced its Action Plan for Beaches and Recreational Waters, a multi-year strategy to improve and assist in state, tribal and local implementation of recreational water monitoring and public health notification programs. With the passage of the Beaches Act in 2000, Congress directed EPA to conduct research in three key areas: 1) to develop rapid methods for measuring beach water quality, 2) to improve protocols for monitoring, and 3) to improve scientific understanding of the relationship between water quality and health effects of swimmers.

Additional information on the study is available at: For further information on the 2002 Beaches Act and other EPA work on beaches, visit: