Laws & Regulations

Summary of the BEACH Act

33 U.S.C. ยง1313 et seq. (2000)

The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act amended the Clean Water Act in 2000. It is designed to reduce the risk of disease to users of the Nation's coastal recreation waters. The act authorizes the EPA to award program development and implementation grants to eligible states, territories, tribes, and local governments to support microbiological testing and monitoring of coastal recreational waters, including the Great Lakes and waters adjacent to beaches or similar points of access used by the public. BEACH Act grants also provide support for developing and implementing programs to notify the public of the potential for exposure to disease-causing microorganisms in coastal recreation waters. The act also authorizes EPA to provide technical assistance to States and local governments for the assessment and monitoring of floatable materials.

EPA created the BEach Advisory and Closing Online Notification (BEACON) system to meet the Agency's requirement to provide to the public a database of pollution occurrences for coastal recreation waters. BEACON contains state-reported beach monitoring and notification data and is available online.

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The Office of Water (OW) develops national programs, policies, and regulations for the health, protection, and monitoring of beaches.