Press Release

PHILADELPHIA (August 30, 2002), Much needed rain, or no rain, many people will head to shore for Labor Day weekend, and possibly a swim in the ocean. "EPA's just completed testing shows clean waters with no harmful levels of bacteria found at any of the sampled beaches. Visitors can feel more secure knowing that EPA, and our state partners, are monitoring the quality of coastal waters to ensure that beaches are safe and clean," said Donald S. Welsh, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mid-Atlantic regional administrator.

This week Tuesday, Aug. 27, an EPA research vessel left Cape May, New Jersey to monitor bacteria at coastal beaches from Delaware to Virginia Beach.

The samples were taken at selected high use public ocean beaches in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Standard sampling methods were used and samples were taken in the surf, where people swim.

The sampling, which occurs several times during the summer season, gives a snapshot of beach water quality.

EPA has monitored mid-Atlantic coastal water quality since mid-1980 and began beach bacteria sampling last year. Monitoring efforts over the past 10 years have shown dramatic improvements in water quality in the area, evidenced by an increase in the clarity of the water and a decrease in the amount of algae observed.

Information about regional beaches and their monitoring programs can be found under the coastal monitoring link on EPA's website at