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EPA Awards $323,930 Beach Grant to Hawai'i Department of Health

Release Date: 11/17/2005
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711,

Funding used to monitor beaches and notify public of any contamination

HONOLULU - During a press event today at Ala Moana Beach Park, U.S. EPA Pacific Southwest Administrator Wayne Nastri announced $323,930 in federal funding awarded to the Hawai'i Department of Health to support monitoring and information dissemination for beach water quality throughout the state.

The Hawai'i Department of Health will be working to post state monitoring data on its Website at these addresses: For advisories:
For data:

DOH is also providing data for the Oahu Chapter of the Surf rider Foundation's Website so residents and visitors can learn of the most up-to-date information about Hawai'i's beaches.

"This funding allows the Hawai'i Department of Health to continue monitoring beach water quality and make the results more easily available to the public," said Nastri. "Thanks to this program, beachgoers can find up-to-date information that can help them make informed decisions on when and where to enter the water."

DOH has been and will continue to do the following to protect beach goers from pollution:

* Increase sampling frequency at certain beach monitoring stations such as Sunset Beach, Ala Moana Park and Kailua Beach;
* Collect water samples off shore at major surfing locations;
* Provide outreach to citizen groups; and
* Post advisories when warranted by sewage spills or continuous high bacterial counts

The funding is from the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH Act). With today's funding, the EPA has provided the state with over $1 million of BEACH grant funds since 2001. The state uses the grant funding to maintain and strengthen its monitoring and notification program, and to make monitoring results readily available to the public.

Beach advisories are issued because of potentially high levels of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria. These microorganisms can come from untreated or partially treated sewage, and runoff pollution. A person coming into contact with contaminated water could experience gastrointestinal infections, and skin or ear infections.

Beach users can avoid exposure to unsafe conditions by finding out if a beach is monitored regularly and posted for swimming advisories; choosing swimming sites in less developed areas with good water circulation; and avoid swimming at beaches near discharge pipes or at urban beaches after a heavy rainfall.
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