Legislation has been reintroduced in Congress to reauthorize the BEACH Act, which requires tough new water quality testing and public notification standards so beachgoers are better informed about the safety of their beaches. 

North Wildwood Beach (Flickr User Jim, the Photographer)

“Storm-water runoff is one of the primary contributors of water pollution, and now more than ever improved water quality and beach protections have become increasingly important to the Jersey Shore. Both from a public health standpoint and for the vitality of New Jersey’s booming tourism industry, stricter standards and better testing methods are needed to give beachgoers the peace of mind that the beaches they visit are clean,” said the sponsor of the measure, New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone.

He pointed out after Sandy, “many of our hard hit coastal towns are strapped for cash and facing new challenges in water safety.  Ensuring clean and safe beaches in New Jersey and nationwide is a necessary and wise investment by the federal government.”

The BEACH Act of 2013 will provide funding for water monitoring and notification programs and will require faster public notification of unhealthy conditions at America’s beaches.  It will also require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop methods for rapid testing of beach water.

Pallone partnered with the late Senator Frank Lautenberg in writing the original BEACH Act in 2000 to fight for cleaner, healthier beaches, a cause the two worked on together for years.