The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (“Beaches Act”) amended the Clean Water Act to address the special water quality concerns associated with the recreational uses of coastal waters. The Beaches Act requires US EPA to conduct studies concerning pathogen indicators in coastal recreation waters (Section 104(v)), and to publish new or revised water quality criteria for pathogens and pathogen indicators (Section 304(a)).
In response to the Beaches Act, US EPA adopted a Critical Path Science Plan (CPSP) for the new/revised criteria. The CPSP describes research and science for establishing the scientific foundation for new/revised criteria and outlines research to be completed by to publish new or revised criteria in 2012. The major CPSP research areas include:
- Epidemiology Studies and Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA)
- Site Characterization
- Indicators/Methods Development and Validation Modeling
- Application of Criteria to Inland Waters
Between now and 2010 EPA will be conducting additional research into indicators, methods, fate & transport studies, and predictive modeling. Between 2010 and 2012, work will begin on developing the new recreational water quality criteria. EPA plans to publish the water quality criteria in 2012.
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