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With Summer Approaching, EPA Offers New Hampshire $205,037 to Monitor Coastal Beaches

Release Date: 06/09/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Sheryl Rosner, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865,

For Immediate Release: June 8, 2005; Release # sr050607

At a press conference today at scenic New Castle Beach, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a $205,037 grant to the NH Department of Environmental Services to improve and expand the water quality monitoring and public notification programs at state coastal beaches.

EPA’s New England office announced the funding at one of the 16 beaches participating in New Hampshire's Coastal Beach Program, a four-year-old effort to improve monitoring and overall water quality at state coastal beaches. More than 750 water samples were collected and analyzed by DES last summer alone.

The EPA funding was made available through EPA's Clean New England Beaches Initiative, which is making a total of $1.2 million available this summer to the region's five coastal states.
Since 2000, the only saltwater beach in New Hampshire issued a swimming advisory due to elevated bacteria levels was in June 2003 at New Castle Town Beach.

Across New England last year, about one quarter of the region's 1,000 coastal beaches were closed at least one day last summer due to pollution, for a total of about 1,000 missed beach days. That's a tangible improvement from 2001, when the region's saltwater beaches had nearly 1,400 beach closure days.

“Four years ago, only a half-dozen of New Hampshire’s coastal beaches were being monitored and now all 16 of the state’s coastal beaches are being sampled weekly, the results are coming back more quickly and ‘Swimming Advisories’ are being posted immediately,” said Linda Murphy, director of the Office of Ecosystem Protection at EPA New England speaking at today's news conference. “Widespread monitoring of our beaches not only brings important public health information to New Englanders but also helps us find the source of any potential contamination.”
“We are so pleased that the EPA Beach Grant will provide New Hampshire with the ability to aggressively monitor our beaches and to quickly notify the public of the latest water quality results,” said Michael Walls, Assistant Commissioner of New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. “The public can now be more confident that they are swimming in clean water. The grant also provides DES with opportunities to conduct research projects to identify sources of bacteria to the public beaches and help evaluate management practices to reduce or eliminate sources of pollutants to our coastal beaches.”

EPA has awarded New Hampshire nearly $900,000 since 2001 to support and expand the state's beach monitoring programs. The funding was made possible by the Federal Beach Act approved by Congress in 2000.

Launched three summers ago, EPA's New England Beaches Initiative selected 11 flagship beaches across New England. These beaches were chosen as models for other beach managers and are based on several criteria: serving large populations; a history of beach closures due to pollution; high quality monitoring already in place; and a strong potential for state and federal resources to be used.

Polluted runoff and untreated sewage released into the water can contain bacteria, viruses, and protozoans, some of which can cause minor illnesses such as gastroenteritis or more serious diseases such as hepatitis. Runoff can be contaminated from pet waste, wildlife, illicit connections and various other sources. Sources of sewage include leaking sewer pipes, failing septic systems, boats and combined sewer overflows.

Information about EPA’s Clean New England Beaches Initiative
Information about swimming conditions at New Hampshire beaches (

Related Information:
Beaches and Coasts
Clean Marine Engines
Storm Water Topics
Non-Point Source
Combined Sewer Overflows