EPA Awards State Beach Monitoring Funding at Onset Beach

ONSET – The New England Regional Administrator for the EPA presented nearly a quarter million dollars in grant funding to the state yesterday at Onset Beach to support beach water quality monitoring across the region.

Alexandra Dunn said the funding will enable the state to have the tools and resources to properly monitor beach water quality and deliver timely notifications to the public.

“We put up with long winters to have these beautiful summers and one thing we don’t want to see happen is people coming out to the beach for the day for a picnic and to find that beach closed to contamination,” Dunn said.

“That’s what this is all about.”

Dunn said people do wonder if the beaches they visit are okay.

“Massachusetts does such a great job through the Department of Health to conduct the monitoring and to collect the samples…and to then put that information up on a website where the public can look and get real-time information,” she said.

Onset Beach, Wareham

Due to having the most coastline in New England, Massachusetts is receiving $240,500 in the just over $1 million awarded to the New England states.

The funding is provided under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act.

A total of $9.3 million will be awarded this year through the BEACH Act to 39 states, territories and tribes that meet eligibility requirements.

Massachusetts 9th District Congressman William Keating (D-Bourne) said the BEACH Act funding is important to coastal communities, especially the ones on Cape Cod.

“It’s so important to get ahead of these issues and to see if you have a problem because you can mitigate so much better early on,” Keating said. “It gives reassurance to everyone that these waters are safe.”

Keating said it is both an environmental issue and economic issue.

“We are proud of our area and we have to remember that our system is fragile,” Keating said. “We have seen the effects of climate change, the temperature of the water and the sea level rise, and that has effects.”

Keating said much of the $240,500 awarded to the state will go towards monitoring local beaches.

Massachusetts’ beach monitoring data can be found at www.mass.gov/beaches.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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