The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH Act) was signed into law on October 10, 2000, amending the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to improve water quality and protect public health at coastal recreational waters. As a result, The BEACH Act provides funds for coastal and Great Lakes states to design and implement water quality monitoring programs. EPA continues to award grant funds to DES to implement the New Hampshire coastal beach monitoring program.
Purpose of the Act
The BEACH Act was designed to help states monitor their public beaches for disease-causing microorganisms and to notify the public when a potential health risk is present. Coastal and Great Lakes states apply for funding to monitor recreational waters through this program. Each state has established monitoring and notification programs consistent with the performance criteria in EPA’s National Beach Guidance and Required Performance Criteria for Grants.
DES monitors 17 public beaches on its coast. These waters were classified using the guidance document referenced above. The New Hampshire Beach Program is currently using Federal BEACH grant funds to monitor these waters, to educate the public about potential health risks at these waters, to notify the public when a disease-causing microorganism is present and may pose a health risk, and to research bacteria sources to coastal beaches and how to mitigate those sources.